Emory's Story

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Emory Martin Richmond, born September 24, 2012, left this world on the evening of September 5, just before his fourth birthday. As his presence in our lives was all encompassing, his absence leaves heartache and a longing to know that he lives on in a more beautiful way than ever before. All are invited to Emory's memorial service at 10:00 am on September 24, 2016 at Sangre Ridge Elementary School in Stillwater, OK. Childcare will be provided. Strode Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Emory was born a healthy, beautiful boy to parents Andrea and Edward Richmond in Vancouver, British Columbia. He thrived as a baby and charmed those around him with his sweet smile. From an early age, he demonstrated a unique ability to observe the people and things around him with an intent and steadfast focus uncharacteristic of someone so young. He woke up each morning with a bright smile, lifting his head to search for his parents, eager to greet us and interact.
At the age of 7 months, he began tilting his head to one side and was eventually diagnosed with ependymoma, a brain cancer that ultimately took his life. Over the course of 3.5 years, he endured four major brain surgeries to remove tumor, countless other surgeries, many rounds of high-dose chemotherapy, radiation treatment, and experimental trials. Fighting cancer, particularly at such a young, impressionable age, left him with many scars, both physical and psychological. Nevertheless, he was amazingly strong and resilient.
Emory persevered through excruciating setbacks, including respiratory arrest and multi-organ failure due to chemotherapy. He exerted enormous amounts of energy regaining the strength to lift his head up, relearning to sit on his own, and triumphing in learning to crawl and then walk on his own. He was surrounded by love throughout his trials by his parents, his grandparents, caring nurses, doctors, and therapists, and supportive friends and family. Emory had a strong heart and strong mind. We are fiercely proud of our son.
After Emory and his parents moved to Stillwater, Oklahoma in 2014, he became known and loved by his communities at Oak Tree Children's Academy and Sangre Ridge Elementary School. We are so thankful for the people who loved him and who strove to understand our complex little boy.
Emory loved all things on wheels, especially trains and cars and yellow school buses. His favorite shirt was his striped, orange, collared OSU shirt. He loved watching videos, including Mickey Mouse, Super Simple Songs, "Doodle Baby", Sesame Street, and "Jungle Book". His favorite movie was "Cars" and he slept with its DVD case. He loved listening to music and would occasionally sing along. Jumping on his small trampoline while holding hands with his daddy to the songs "I Wanna Be Like You" and "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" thrilled him. He loved books, often content to pull nearly every book off his bookcase and look through them on his own. He also loved reading with his daddy at bedtime. He was interested in animals and liked making animal sounds. He loved drinking milk from a straw cup and licking the salt off goldfish crackers and the cheese dust off Cheetos.
When he was 2 years old, he learned the alphabet song and could recognize all the letters, as well as count to 40. He also learned some sign language. Despite delays in communication as a result of cancer treatment, he was a thinker; we could see at times that there were depths of emotion and thought that he was not able to verbalize. He had beautiful, compelling, deep brown eyes. In spite of the suffering he endured, he had a sweetness that was fundamental to his personality. He was exceptionally huggable and had chubby, irresistibly kissable cheeks. He had a loud, strong voice that was heart-wrenching when he cried and exuberant when he laughed. He had a soft, angelic voice when he sang.
Emory and his baby sister Meryl were a sweet pair and we mourn that they will not have the opportunity to grow up together. We grieve the unrealized potential of Emory and the loss of him from our daily lives. We will always love him, remember him as an irreplaceable member of our family, and hope that we will get to be with him again. We are deeply grateful to all those who have helped our family through our difficult times.
Emory is survived by his parents, Ed and Andrea Richmond and his sister, Meryl, of Stillwater. He is also survived by his grandparents, Monica and Terry Richmond, of Syracuse, NY, and Susan and Dale Turlington of Gainesville, FL. He is survived by numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to one of the following organizations whose compassionate work helps other children and families in their struggles with pediatric cancer: St. Baldrick's, CERN, OK Kids Korral, Ronald McDonald House, Give Kids the World Village, and British Columbia Children's Hospital.

Condolences may be emailed to the family and an online obituary may be viewed by visiting www.strodefh.com
Published on September 16, 2016
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