Giving out of LUV
Ryan Eaton’s 26 years of life were celebrated once again on August 22 when his parents, Sheldon and Vicki Eaton of Billings, and his brother and sister-in-law, Dallas and Anna Eaton of Helena, donated a dozen iPads to Kalispell Regional Healthcare’s cancer services.
Ryan was an inspiration to his family, doctors and patients he came in contact with during his battle with synovial sarcoma. In the 14 months since he passed away, his family, including brother and sister-in-law Dusty and Kara Eaton of Billings, have devoted themselves to making sure Ryan’s legacy lives on.
The compassionate young man, long before his own cancer was detected, saw the need for companionship and support of those in extended hospital stays. He channeled that vision into an organization he founded, United LUV. The family picked up his ethic by passing along the lifeline that was such a comfort to Ryan during his long hours in the hospital – a simple iPad. The connection it provided to the outside world was huge.
“Here he is, full of cancer, and he was worried about the guy next to him who was sitting there alone all day,” Dallas said during the Friday afternoon presentation in Kalispell, marking the eighth such gift to Montana hospitals.
Six of the Kalispell iPads are designated for use by cancer patients during their time in Kalispell Regional Medical Center’s inpatient infusion center, and the other half will be used by infusion patients at Northwest Oncology and Hematology.
The family is right at 145 iPads they have funded for cancer patients across the state, Dallas added.
“It’s bittersweet, that’s for sure,” Ryan’s dad Sheldon said.
“But hearing the feedback from people and how this has helped them,” his mom Vicki said, “that’s what kept us going.”
Ryan also designed an array of United LUV T-shirts, with proceeds from those sales going to fund the organization’s mission. Dallas maintains the website where the T-shirts are available, along with Ryan’s story and much more. You can learn more by visiting http://www.unitedluv.com.
Pictured above at the August 22 presentation are, from left, KRH Cancer Services Manager Margo Connole, Inpatient Infusion Manager Laurie Hatleberg, Northwest Oncology and Hematology Manager Sandra Absalonson; family members Anna and Dallas Eaton, and Vicki and Sheldon Eaton; Cancer Support Center Manager Jennifer Schaffner; and family members Amy Lavin and Amy Reithmier, holding her son Masen.
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