Hudsonville boy with brain cancer gains ‘angel wings’

Tommy Ruddy
Tommy Ruddy smiles from his hospital bed during cancer treatment.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A 5-year-old boy whose bravery in battling cancer united the Hudsonville community has died.

A Facebook page dedicated Tommy Ruddy of Hudsonville announced Thursday that he had passed away.

“Tommy gained his angel wings today at 12:06am in his home surrounded by love and family. He fought so brave and so hard and now he’s at peace with Jesus,” a portion of the post stated.

Tommy experienced slurred speech, fatigue and drooling before a summer visit with his grandparents in Philadelphia.  It was during that vacation his mother noticed his face was drooping, leading to a hospital visit and the devastating diagnosis: an inoperable brain stem tumor.

An anonymous donor paid to fly the family back to start treatment at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids.

The trip home was thanks in part to the support from Team Tommy Army Strong. Loved ones adopted the name for the support group after Tommy’s close family friend and teacher, U.S. Army veteran Ron Harig, drove all the way to Philadelphia to see the boy after his diagnosis.

Tommy Ruddy
GVSU footbal players visit Tommy Ruddy at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital. (Aug. 19, 2016)

Words of encouragement and prayers and flooded the Team Tommy Army Strong Facebook page for months after Tommy’s diagnosis.

Tommy’s family is planning to hold two memorial services for the boy – one at Fair Haven Church in Hudsonville and one in the Philadelphia area.

Loved ones have also set up a GoFundMe page to help cover expenses.