Two Illinois towns are coming together to support a 5-year-old boy who was just diagnosed with a rare, aggressive, and inoperable brain tumor. (Warning: you might need to grab the tissues for this one).

Illinois Town Rivalries

For those that don't know, I live in Pecatonica, (GO DuPec Rivermen!!)...

Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media

and Sweet Lenny lives in Byron where his oldest son plays football for the Byron High School Tigers...

Townsquare Media, Canva
Townsquare Media, Canva

This past weekend both teams' fates were set to play each other in the 3a quarterfinal game this Saturday (November 11) in Byron. This game is a HUGE deal in both Byron and Pecatonica/Durand, but it just took on an even higher purpose.


This morning I received an email from the Pecatonica School District that completely broke my heart and included this flyer...

Help us - 2

The email also said;

Sweet five year old Ryker Hoppe was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG) just last week. DIPG is a highly aggressive brain stem tumor located on the Pons. Due to the location of the tumor, it is ultimately inoperable with very limited options for treatment. DIPG affects 200-300 children per year and holds a very low long-term survival rate.

I cannot even imagine what Ryker, his family, and friends are feeling right now, but I do know that we can all help make every minute they have together count.

If you're going to the Byron/DuPec game on Saturday, bring your wallet and lots of cash. If you're not going to the game, but still want to support Ryker and the medical fight he is embarking on, a GoFundMe has been established to make a donation to. Donation bins are also being set up at several different businesses in Pecatonica and Byron.

Two local businesses are also selling merch and donating all proceeds to the Hoppe family...

Hoppe family, stay strong. Ryker, fight like a champion! Your two hometowns have got your back.

LOOK: 50 images of winning moments from sports history

Sometimes images are the best way to honor the figures we've lost. When tragedy swiftly reminds us that sports are far from the most consequential thing in life, we can still look back on an athlete's winning moment that felt larger than life, remaining grateful for their sacrifice on the court and bringing joy to millions.

Read on to explore the full collection of 50 images Stacker compiled showcasing various iconic winning moments in sports history. Covering achievements from a multitude of sports, these images represent stunning personal achievements, team championships, and athletic perseverance.

Gallery Credit: Peter Richman

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