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Texas Church Shooting Survivor Ryland Ward, 5, Is Asking for Christmas Cards After Family Members Killed

Ryland Ward
Ryland Ward GoFundMe

This holiday season, Ryland Ward has just one thing on his wish list. The 5-year-old, who survived the church shooting in Sutherland Springs, Texas, is asking for Christmas cards while he recovers in the hospital.

“They still haven’t told him yet that his mom and sisters are dead, but I’m sure he’s kind of getting some idea because he’s 5,” Ryland’s grandmother, Sandy Ward, told ABC affiliate KSAT-TV on Tuesday, December 5.

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The Texas boy’s stepmother, JoAnn Ward, and her daughters, Emily, 7, and Brooke, 5, were killed on November 5 when a 26-year-old gunman opened fire at First Baptist Church. The Wards were regular parishioners at the place of worship. The attack left 25 people dead and 20 others injured, making it the deadliest mass shooting in the state’s modern history.

Ryland was shot five times — twice in the stomach, twice in the leg and once in the elbow — and was transported to the hospital in critical but stable condition. His eldest sister, Rianna, 9, also survived the shooting and was uninjured.

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“It’s really been hitting me this week,” Sandy told KSAT-TV. “It seems like all I do is cry lots of days because I still miss JoAnn and the girls and I’m sure it will be a long time before I get over that.”

According to a GoFundMe page set up for Ryland, he underwent surgery earlier this week to have a stent put in his kidney. However, his femur bone is still separated, he needs to undergo additional operations and he will have to use a wheelchair in the coming months. Doctors hope he can return home in six to eight weeks.

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In the meantime, Ryland wants to save money for a go-kart. He also likes receiving pictures from other children and their pets. “You got so many nice people that are sending a card and a dollar to Ryland,” his grandmother said. “He does really enjoy that a lot.”

Christmas cards can be mailed to:
Ryland Ward
P.O. Box 174
Sutherland Springs, Texas, 78161

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