Marine grandparents helping their medically challenged grandson have a better life
ROCK HILL, SC (FOX 46) - Meet 2-year-old Ryley Hufford. Riley suffers from a broad range of medical issues: severe scoliosis, a rare genetic disorder, and digestive disorders which require he be fed directly through a tube that goes straight into his stomach.
"I went to Columbia for a normal visit with my son and I came home with a baby," James Hufford said.
This wasn't quite how Ryley's grandparents expected to spend their retirement.
"He was pretty much neglected since he was born, since we got him. You see that and you can't allow it," Cindy Hufford said.
They weren't about to leave him in a foster home either.
"Being a product of that system, knowing they were going to pick you up and move you from here to there or where ever, you didn't have a choice and I was going to that to him? No!" James Hufford said.
"I grew up in an orphanage. I mean we can go on and on but that's why we consider the Marine Corps our family. Ryley is our family and we are going to take care of him," Cindy Hufford said.
They are both Marines who never waiver when it comes to taking on 12 hour shifts to be with him 24/7.
"Our mission in life is to try and figure out what's going to make Ryley happy and how do we solve Ryley's medical issues," James Hufford said.
According to doctors, a potentially life-threatening brain surgery is on the horizon for Ryley because his brain has shifted to one side but his family tells FOX 46 Charlotte he's simply too weak to go through with it. They now see their only option as a cranial band helmet that could help correct the problem but they tell said their insurance won't pay for it.
"He's a baby, he's small, he's vulnerable and obviously you want him to live. You don't want to break him in some kind of fashion and you want him to be comfortable. Is it scary? Every day," James Hufford said.
The fear isn't enough to stop these rugged marines.
"The mission in life is honestly not only to take care of him but get him to smile because when he does it will melt your heart," James Hurfford said.
All Things Possible Ministry is hosting a fundraiser for Ryley on Saturday, November 12 at Michael's Rock Hill Grille from 11am-3pm. Ryley and his grandparents will be there sharing their story and are hoping to raise $6,500.
All proceeds will go for Ryley to get the cranial helmet and a p-pod chair that will result in better digestion during Ryley's tube feeding and increased spinal support.