Ronan Sean is born May 12th, 2007 with bright blue eyes. He’s the missing piece of the Thompson family puzzle, and is adored by his parents, Maya and Woody, and big brothers, Liam and Quinn.
Maya snaps some photos of Liam, Quinn and Ronan on a family trip in Washington State and notices Ronan’s eye looks a little “off”. Upon arriving home, Woody immediately notices Ronan's eye looks "lazy". Ronan is experiencing no other symptoms and continues to be a spunky, active little boy. They schedule an appointment with Ronan's doctor with no foresight of what is to come.
The Thompson family's life is turned upside down. After an MRI and CT scan, doctors find a mass above the left orbit of Ronan’s eye, and a mass in Ronan’s abdomen. They hear the dreaded words that their baby has cancer. Maya and Woody's perfect, spicy, beautiful baby is diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma—a deadly form of childhood cancer. Everyone is devastated, but joins together to fight this monster.
Ronan has a major surgery to remove the orbital tumor behind his eye. Surgery is followed up with 5 rounds of chemotherapy at Phoenix Children's Hospital.
After an MIBG scan, the Thompson's opted to forgo the standard Children's Oncology Group treatment protocol, and transition Ronan's treatment and care to New York City (Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center) where Ronan underwent a 10 hour abdominal surgery to remove a massive tumor. Ronan continued with radiation and high dose chemotherapy in NYC.
Ronan’s disease takes a sharp turn, and his disease is no longer responding to treatment. Ronan's parents refuse to give up. They take Ronan to CHOP in Philadelphia. They were told Ronan could not undergo MIBG therapy. The doctors advised taking him home to enjoy his remaining time.The Thompson's search for anything to save Ronan. Dr. Giselle Sholler agrees to accept Ronan in her Nifurtimox trial, but Ronan's little body continues to decline.
Ronan’s little body could not fight anymore, his little organs were failing. His family did everything they could to keep him comfortable. Surrounded by his Mama, Dad, and big brothers, Ronan let go and stopped fighting. His Mama kept whispering in his ear, “Come with me, Ronan. Let’s get out of here." He ended his battle with Neuroblastoma on May 9, 2011. Maya made a promise to Ronan to continue to fight for him until people start listening, survival rates improve, and one day, a cure is found.
Maya refuses to stop fighting for Ronan and all other children fighting cancer. Maya believes every child deserves a chance to grow up. She launches The Ronan Foundation, dedicated to funding clinical trials to create more effective treatments and ultimately to find a cure for childhood cancer. Woody becomes the President of the foundation and together Maya and Woody fight cancer for kids through funding innovative research so no family nor child endures what they did.
Maya gets a call that begins “Hey Maya, it’s Taylor Swift…” Taylor has written a song based on Maya’s blog. “I wrote a song for Ronan,” she says. Taylor performs the song on Stand Up 2 Cancer, which is nationally televised. All of Taylor's profits of the song went to cancer charities; all of Maya’s profits went to The Ronan Foundation. She titles the song simply: “Ronan.”. Taylor Swift continues to be a supporter of the foundation, an advocate for children with cancer and maintains a close relationship with Maya.
Poppy Ronan is born on April 8th, 2013. Maya describes her as "the most peaceful little thing. I guess somebody must have told her how badly we were all needing a little peace in our lives." Poppy brings endless joy, laughter and love back into the Thompson house.
Maya has always said "I don’t want to end this story. I want it to go on forever. I want Ronan to never stop inspiring you all just because he is gone. I want his name and our love story to live on forever" and she is doing just that through the Ronan Foundation and is working on her first book.
The Ronan Foundation continues to share Ronan's story, raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer. Over the years, the foundation has raised over $1 million dollars and has funded hundreds of thousands of dollars in clinical trials in hopes of finding more effective treatments for the littlest ones, fighting the biggest battles.