Cancer Victim's Family Donates iPads - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

Cancer Victim's Family Donates iPads

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It was a bittersweet ceremony at Billings Clinic. A combination of tears and smiles from Ryan Eaton's family, doctors and entire cancer team.

Three months ago Thursday, Ryan lost his battle with a rare form of cancer called synovial sarcoma. Through donations at his memorial and a family t-shirt company, family members were able to raise lots of money for the i-Pads, which will go to cancer patients at Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare.

Wearing "United Luv" t-shirts, created by his brother Dallas, and with some of the proceeds going to fund the iPads, the family presented the gifts to doctors at both hospitals.

Ryan had some trouble getting around during his treatment and wasn't able to use a laptop because of a tumor on his leg. His mother Vicki said Ryan used an iPad to stay in touch with friends and family.

"If you had an iPad, you could Skype, you could be connected, you could be on Facebook. And just that support and connection is really needed and important," said his mother Vicki.

The Eaton family was able to donate 9 iPads each to the cancer centers of Billings Clinic and St. Vincent Healthcare. The hospitals matched the family's donation. Now, 36 iPads are available for cancer patients.

Ryan's radiology team said his glowing positive attitude was something that rubbed off on everyone and his lasting gift reflects that sunny disposition.

You know, as hard as everything was for him and his family. He just always came in with a great attitude and I think that really reflected with everybody," said Kelsey Sian, one of Ryan's radiologists at Billings Clinic.

Ryan received chemotherapy and other cancer treatment at both hospitals. Doctors said the iPads will help other cancer patients stay connected during their treatment.

"The generosity of his parents and his family in providing these iPads to our patients is going to live for a long time. It's going to help our patients greatly over the years," said Dr. Patrick Cobb, an oncologist with St. Vincent Healthcare.

Ryan's mother said the gifts are something he would have been incredibly proud of.

"Ryan would be thrilled and I think he is thrilled because I think he can look over and see what we're doing and I think he's got a big smile on his face right now," she said.

The Eaton family hopes to expand the program to hospitals in Bozeman and Great Falls later this year.