8237 Dunwoody Pl Atlanta, GA 30350

Scholarship Winner Thompson Ritter

In 2010, Thompson Ritter was 13 and going in for a routine sports physical when he was diagnosed with scoliosis.  For nine months, he slept in a back brace until the pain became unbearable.  An MRI showed that he had a 9-inch tumor in his spinal cord that had to be removed immediately.  He was admitted into ICU at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta and endured a 10-hour surgery.  The surgeons were able to get 90% of the tumor but were forced to stop when they lost contact to his right leg.  Over the next 13 days, Thompson learned to walk again and returned to his baseball team in the spring.  The following year, he had a surgery to straighten his spine which included 2 titanium rods and 13 screws. Again, he put the work in and returned to the baseball field, his true love. In 2012, the tumor came back and Thompson received 5 weeks of radiation treatment. In 2013, an MRI showed that the radiation treatment did not work and he had two more surgeries to remove the tumor.  Being a true competitor and a lover of sports, Thompson began running cross country for his school and broke one of the titanium rods in his back.  A fifth surgery was necessary to replace the rod and do a spinal fusion. Thompson was cancer free for 4 years until this past November when we discovered that the tumor had come back. Surgery and radiation treatment are no longer an option so we continue to monitor the tumor and will possibly treat any further growth with a chemo pill. He is a junior at Georgia College studying to be a pediatric nurse.