North Bay first grader doesn't let cancer stop his Mardi Gras pa - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

North Bay first grader doesn't let cancer stop his Mardi Gras parade

Ryan is being honored as the grand marshal in his school's Mardi Gras parade. (Photo source: WLOX) Ryan is being honored as the grand marshal in his school's Mardi Gras parade. (Photo source: WLOX)
Ryan's classmates followed close behind the excited grand marshal, tossing beads and candy to their anxious peers. (Photo source: WLOX) Ryan's classmates followed close behind the excited grand marshal, tossing beads and candy to their anxious peers. (Photo source: WLOX)
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

There's no rule as to how young you have to be to enjoy a good Mardi Gras party, and that was obvious at North Bay Elementary School in Biloxi Friday afternoon.

Ryan Wilson, 6, looks like your typical first grader, upbeat and full of smiles. But for the past two years, Ryan has been battling a rare form of cancer that caused him to be home schooled by his parents.

One year later, and with a head full of hair, Ryan is back in school.

"We're very excited he's back in first grade and that he can go to school and make friends and be finished with his treatments," Ryan's mother, Kimberly Wilson, said.

For the second consecutive year, Ryan is being honored as the grand marshal in his school's Mardi Gras parade. Like any other first grader, beads are his favorite part.

"I like throwing beads," Ryan said.

Ryan's principal, Laurie Pitre, says honoring Ryan in this way was an easy decision to make and seeing the smile on his face makes it all worthwhile.

"It just seemed totally normal and natural and so exciting that he's back with us this year actually in first grade. He's doing really well, and he's just the perfect grand marshal. He's so excited, and it's so much fun to see how excited he is," Pitre said.

Ryan's classmates followed close behind the excited grand marshal, tossing beads and candy to their anxious peers. It was a sight Ryan's mom loved to see.

"We're excited because it was a long way to get him to this point. Makes me proud. I'm proud to be his mama," Wilson said.

Along with Mardi Gras fun, the school was able to raise more than $3,000 in a fundraiser for St. Jude Research Hospital where Ryan has received treatment, including a stem-cell transplant.

Being able to reach that goal in just a week's time proves that Ryan is not fighting his battle with cancer alone.

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