A Texas family’s eagerly anticipated trip to the bustling streets of New York City to celebrate their 10-year-old son Riker’s birthday took a harrowing turn, plunging them into a nightmarish ordeal when Riker fell critically ill and was admitted to an ICU in a New York City hospital.
The Stippick family had planned a special birthday getaway for Riker, which included a visit to see the acclaimed Broadway musical “Hamilton” and savoring his first slice of authentic New York City pizza.
“Bless his sweet little heart,” expressed David Stippick, Riker’s father, in an interview with FOX 7, reflecting on the joyous anticipation they had leading up to the trip. Riker had expressed a keen interest in visiting the Weehawken dueling ground, where the infamous duel between Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton took place.
However, the joyous occasion quickly turned distressing as Riker’s health suddenly deteriorated during their visit to the World Trade Center. He complained of an excruciating headache, described by Stippick as the worst his son had ever experienced. Moments later, Riker vomited and sought rest near a bench, writhing in pain.
Concerned for their son’s well-being, the family rushed him to the hospital, where doctors made the grim decision to induce him into a medically induced coma.
“It’s as awful as it sounds,” expressed Stippick, grappling with the shock of witnessing his son’s sudden illness.
Doctors in New York City diagnosed Riker with a suspected arteriovenous malformation, an abnormality involving the connection between arteries and veins, potentially leading to severe bleeding in the brain or spinal cord. Riker had experienced an aneurysm within his arteries and veins, causing excruciating pain.
The medical team performed emergency surgery, including drilling a hole into Riker’s skull to relieve pressure caused by blood and fluid accumulation and to remove clotting.
Amidst the uncertainty, the Stippick family clings to hope, awaiting further diagnosis following an MRI examination. Riker’s condition must stabilize before doctors can provide definitive answers about his prognosis.
Supported by their church community in Texas, the Stippicks have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and financial assistance. A GoFundMe campaign initiated by their church’s lead pastor has garnered significant support, offering solace and strength during this challenging time.
“We never expected it to be our reality, but it is,” remarked Stippick, acknowledging the surreal nature of their ordeal while expressing profound gratitude for the overwhelming support they have received.