"Angels Yell Roll Tide": Remembering Hunter and Ryan - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

"Angels Yell Roll Tide": Remembering Hunter and Ryan

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

Words are a powerful thing. They have the tendency to capture, so perfectly, the things that sometimes we fail to express.

Emotions. Thoughts. Even memories.

"I have a lot of great memories with these boys," author Darla Hall said.

Words come easy for Hall.

"I just wrote thoughts down as I went along," she said.

For her, it's not telling a story...it's remembering a journey.

"He never fussed, never cried, never whined...just happy," Scot Alexander said.

Hunter Alexander was nine-years-old when he started waking up with headaches and nausea. Doctors believed it was a sinus infections and gave him antibiotics.

But the headaches continued.

"That's when the doctors said let's get a CAT scan," Alexander said.

There it was...a mass on Hunter's brain. Medulloblastoma.

Parents, Scot and Jeana, couldn't believe it.

"First of all, as a parent, [I thought]...'Why my son?'," Alexander said.

Surgery removed it, but it was too late. The cancer had spread.

Radiation followed with 36 treatments and chemo once a week.

"He never said 'I hate this,' or 'Why me?'," Jeana Alexander said. "He just took it one step at a time."

But then came the day when Hunter couldn't take another step.

"Jeana asked him if he was scared to go back to the ICU and he said 'No'," Scot said. "She asked him was he scared to die...he said 'No'."

Through everything Hunter stayed strong.

"From the night he was diagnosed to the night he passed away that's the kind of strength that Hunter showed," he said.

"He was my baby," Jasmine Davis said. "[The doctor] actually looked me in the eyes and said 'I think your son's making this up to get out of school'."

It's not what Davis wanted to hear from a doctor.

For days, her six-year-old son, Ryan, had been projectile vomiting. The next day, like many before, Davis got the call to come get her sick son from school.

"I put him in the car, took him to the Emergency Room and had kind of an attitude," she said. "Went in there, threw my insurance card down and said 'We are not leaving here until you do every test on him'."

Ryan had an MRI test.

"They did one swipe over...and stopped," Davis said.

On Ryan's brain...a mass. Medulloblastoma. In the coming months...radiation, chemo and stem cell transplants.

Then, in April of 2012...good news.

"He was clean," Davis said. "We were ecstatic."

Doctors sent Ryan home. But, in three months, it was back.

"He asked me, he said 'Momma am I gonna die? Why are you crying, did they find something?'," Davis said. "I can't lie to him. I said 'Yes, babe, they found it'."

Two tumors. Both inoperable.

Davis remembers seven months later at the very end, holding her son.

"He had one little tear that fell down and he took one little breath and it sounded just like a baby and he went <breath> and that was it," Davis said. "It was beautiful. He left the world the same way he came in...on my chest."

The smallest thing can make strangers become family.

Hall is about to show you how that smallest thing can and will be the power...of words.

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