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Riley's Story

"Riley was only 4 years old when he was diagnosed with aggressive brain and spinal cancer, called Pineoblastoma, in January of 2014. He had 3 brain tumors as well as spinal tumors. Prior to his diagnosis, he suffered from fatigue, early morning nausea and vomiting, headaches, and mobility issues. Riley endured 31 days of intense proton radiation to his entire brain and spine, and then 6 cycles of high dose, inpatient chemotherapy. Towards the end of radiation, he slowly lost his ability to walk. He ended up doing inpatient rehabilitation at RIC in Chicago in between his chemotherapy cycles, but never regained his ability to walk. At the end of treatment Riley was declared “stable” as the tumors had shrunk and he no longer had any more masses.


Unfortunately, in June of 2016, another tumor had grown in his brain, and Riley officially relapsed. During this time, Riley received additional intensive OT, PT, and Speech Therapy services. He learned to crawl, but never was able to walk again. A friend reached out and shared that Project Mobility was having an Adaptive Bike Give Away Contest and that we should fill out the application. I wrote up Riley’s story and how important it would be for Riley and for our family, for Riley to regain some freedom of movement that he had lost and to just be a kid again and ride bikes with his older brother. The contest had 3 contestants. Unfortunately, Riley was too sick to attend the luncheon to announce the winner, but we received a phone call that all 3 kids were gifted bikes. I was in complete tears. Riley, his older brother Aidan, and I, went to The Bike Rack and got to see Riley’s beautiful, adaptive, and purple bike. It was the most amazing experience! Riley got on that bike and took off. His smile and laugh was priceless. He rode around the whole store and there was no stopping him! We will be forever grateful to The Bike Rack and Project Mobility for Riley’s adaptive bike. He was able to ride his bike with his brother and enjoy life during those moments.


Unfortunately, Riley lost his battle with brain cancer on March 19th, 2018, after a second relapse. He was the sweetest boy and touched the hearts of everyone he met. He will be forever missed. We would like to express our sincere gratitude to Project Mobility for reaching out, sharing Riley’s story, and helping other children with cancer. Cancer steals the lives of these little children and takes so much away from them, including their mobility. We will forever treasure and remember those special moments when Riley would ride his bike and I would have to run chasing him just to catch up.


With love,

The Buckholz Family"

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