11-year-old cancer survivor donates lemonade stand proceeds to pediatric cancer research

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- It has been a challenging year for the Collins family in Naperville after their youngest child was diagnosed with cancer.

Out of that fight has blossomed an inspirational story of healing and giving.

"Ring this bell three times loud. It is totally clear to say, my treatment is done, this course is won and I'm on my way," chants 11-year-old Ryan Collins.

Young Ryan was engulfed by family and friends nearly a year to the day he was rushed to Lurie Children's Hospital vomiting and crushed by headaches.

Within days he had a medulla blastoma removed from the base of his skull and has since spent a year fighting the cancer with radiation treatment.

"That was really hard. It was so hard [that] I stop my chemo early because they thought it would do more harm than good," Ryan said.

The 6th grader found strength during the fight to raise money for pediatric cancer research through "Ryan's Hope" lemonade stands in Naperville.

He raised $4,300, which he gave back to the hospital Wednesday where only four percent of cancer donations go to pediatric cancer.

"What these kids go through is the worst thing you can see and to have your child go through," said Ryan's mom Becca Collins, "and then to have him come out on the other end of it and want to help other, and to make improvements in the healthcare industry for other children... I couldn't be more proud of him."

"I don't really know how to explain how it feels. It just feels amazing," said Ryan.

Ryan said for others facing cancer, the key is stay strong and keep believing in yourself. He also said he is going to keep his lemonade stand going online and hopes people will contribute.
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