5-Year-Old Survivor of Sutherland Springs Church Shooting Asks for Christmas Cards From Hospital

Ryland Ward, the 5-year-old survivor who lost his stepmother and two sisters in the Sutherland Springs shooting, will be spending the holidays in the hospital this year as he continues to recover from his five gunshot wounds.

The Texas boy’s grandmother, Sandy Ward, is asking their community to send Christmas cards to Ryland to keep him in a joyful spirit after she saw her grandson’s face light up when he was recently surprised with a holiday delivery, according to multiple local news outlets.

“They still haven’t told [Ryland] yet that his mom and sisters are dead, but I’m sure he’s kind of getting some kind of idea because he’s 5,” Sandy told ABC affiliate KSAT on Tuesday.

Ryland’s stepmother, Joann, and her daughters, Brooke Ward, 5, and 7-year-old Emily Garza, were killed in the Nov. 5 attack, the state’s deadliest mass shooting in modern history.

Ryland continues to receive medical treatments after he was shot once in the elbow, twice in the stomach and twice in the leg by a gunman who opened fire at First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, where his family members were regular parishioners.

On Tuesday, the child’s family shared a health update on the child’s GoFundMepage.

“Ryland’s surgery today to put a stint in his kidney was a success. If it holds, it will remain in place 6 weeks. Please pray it holds and that he will not lose a kidney. This young warrior has many battles to overcome,” the statement read.

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SOURCE: PEOPLE, Karen Mizoguchi