THE family of a ‘miracle boy’ who suffered a devastating stroke at just five-years-old are urging people to make a Christmas donation to help local families at a children’s hospice.

William Ryder’s family were told that it was unlikely he would ever return home from hospital after he suffered a stroke in 2017. But despite spending the next five months confined to a hospital bed, William, of Goldthorpe, fought on.

His mum and dad hoped to have the seven-year-old back home for Christmas that year, but it wasn’t possible because of his complex medical needs. As William was born three months early, he has several medical conditions which have left him unable to speak. The seven-year-old weighed just one pound one ounce when he was born. He was a twin, but sadly his twin died in pregnancy.

William got to go on the trip of a lifetime last year when he was selected as one of 25 children to be taken to Disney World in Florida by the charity Caudwell Children, accompanied by a team of doctors, nurses and his family. His mum Michelle Ryder was the winner of the Carer of the Year category at the 2018 Proud of Barnsley awards. 


William’s family were able to celebrate Christmas with William at Bluebell Wood Children’s Hospice, and now the family want people to dedicate a snowflake to a loved one or family at the hospice as part of their Light up a Life campaign.

William’s mum Michelle Ryder said: “Staying there at Christmas, after everything William had been through, meant so much to us.

“It gave us chance to have a proper night’s sleep in a comfy bed. One of the nurses also worked with William in the soft play room to get him crawling for the first time since his stroke.

“He had to learn everything again and just start over. Bluebell Wood really is our saving grace.”

William is now a regular visitor to the hospice, never failing to charm staff with his cheeky grin.

“Visiting Bluebell Wood is like walking into a home of our own now,” said Michelle.

“It’s such a relaxing place, and everyone is so understanding. We don’t get the stares we get elsewhere, everybody knows William here.”

Madeleine Oldale, head of communications at Bluebell Wood, said: “Christmas is an incredibly special time here at Bluebell Wood and over the years we’ve helped hundreds of families like William’s make truly unforgettable memories in the often limited time they have together.

“Kindly dedicating a snowflake to a loved one or family at the hospice will help us to reach those who really need our support over the festive season.”

Last year, along with his mum Michelle and dad Paul, William was selected as one of 25 children to be taken to Disney World in Florida by the charity Caudwell Children, accompanied by a team of doctors, nurses and about 40 volunteers who were on hand to support them.

For more information, call 01909 517 360.