WEST WARWICK (WPRI) – A fundraiser was held for a local Marine veteran who is battling advanced skin cancer.
Sunday night, friends and family attended a comedy show to raise money to help pay for the medical bills of Andrea Ryder, who served in the Marines fighting in both Afghanistan and Iraq. While abroad, she was diagnosed with melanoma, a skin cancer.
“It started off just as a mole and it started getting bigger and I still didn’t think anything of it. I thought it could just be cut off and that was it, end of it,” Ryder said.
Doctors thought she beat the disease at first, but a year later, her illness skyrocketed to stage four. This time, she was pregnant. Ryder held off her treatment to have her baby, named Olivia, who was born 10 weeks early, weighing just 3 pound 3 ounces. Unfortunately, Ryder’s cancer spread reaching to the rest of her body. She’s now terminal.
“That was the hardest decision of my life. In the back of my mind, I knew I was doing the right thing, but there were still times where I was like, is this really the right choice? Did I do the right thing?”
Sunday night, Ryder’s friends and family turned to laughter to raise money to help her family when she’s gone.
Ryder’s friend, Nicole Diamonte helped organized the event, “We all just pulled together in any way that we could and came out with this,” she said.
Friends teamed up with Funny4Funds using laughs to fundraiser.
Ryder’s friends say while they know her countdown clock is ticking, they’re making these final days count, which is something Ryder appreciates. She says, “This means the world, just the love and the support of everyone who came here and the fact that it’s supporting melanoma awareness.”
Early estimates showed the fundraiser brought in about $10,000 Sunday night.