There were so many deserving people this year, but we can only name one as the grand prize recipient of this year's Christmas With Us. 

The Ryckman family of Bismarck will be taking home a grand prize package from our generous sponsors. Take a look at their story:

This nominee is the most kind-hearted person I have ever known. She does a lot for others from just cheering them up with a conversation to giving money to people who need it more than she does, to organizing benefits. I always tell her I wish I was more like her. She is also a wonderful mom. Her girls are her world and they do everything together! She and her husband have two little girls – 7 and 4-years-old.

She wanted one more baby before she felt her family was “complete”. They got pregnant last year but had a miscarriage. This was very hard for both of them, and they were a little nervous to try again. They found out 5 months ago that they were pregnant! Everything was going fine until the 20 week ultrasound in Bismarck. This showed the baby’s head was not forming the way it should be and also something was wrong with the spine. Instead of scheduling a second ultrasound, the doctors in Bismarck sent her to a specialist in Fargo 3 days later. After stressful days and sleepless nights, tests showed that the baby had the most severe case of Spina Bifida. The doctors recommended termination, because they said the baby will be paralyzed, (maybe completely) and the brain will not be right. One test showed the part of the brain that does our everyday involuntary movements (such as breathing) was being squashed. Her and her husband decided termination was not an option as God has given them this baby for a reason and they would do everything they could for this innocent, helpless baby.

They decided to go to Denver for surgery. This way the baby has a greater chance of being “normal”, even though it could’ve been dangerous to the mother as well. They knew this would be a long, hard journey but hopefully be worth it in the end. The surgery on the baby’s spine went well, but the doctors did say it was the biggest repair they’ve had to do, which is scary. She hasn’t seen her girls since October and she cannot come home because she had been sick and got really dehydrated. The water in the baby’s sac was low so the doctors don’t want them to take any chances.

She will be going to the hospital in Fargo until February, after the baby arrives. (Baby’s due date is February 19) She is on strict bed rest until then. I will take her girls to visit when I can, but it’s not the same for them. They want their mom! She talks to them on the phone every night but they are very homesick. They know that the baby is sick and mom has to stay in the hospital. They’re excited for when their baby brother arrives and mom can be home with them and dad!

Chance pictured with his parents.

Mom Kristy gave us an update after little Chance Mark Ryckman was born in December:

Chance Mark Ryckman decided to make his appearance into the world. His due date was 02/20/2014. But one of the largest risk of fetal surgery was being premature. He was 30 weeks gestation. He weighed 3# 1.1oz and 15 inches long. On Nov 6th 2014 in Aurora, Colorado the doctors repaired his spina bifida meningomyelocele defect with artificial skin which was 5cm x 3cm. Being born premature his back was/has not completely healed. Chance is currently in NICU in Fargo ND. He has to be placed on his stomach to prevent any damage/tear to the repair on his back. He has a feeding tube placed for continuance feedings. He also has a PIC line placed for antibiotics for infection. He is in an incubator. The doctors are also repeating head ultrasounds to watch that he does not develop hydrocephalus. If this would happen, the doctors would have to place a shunt in his head.

The location of Chance's defect could of affected all involuntary movements (things that you do without thinking about it) ......breathing, eating, sucking, open/close your eyes. Also the location could possibly mean paralyzed from the waist down along with no/little bowel and bladder functions. BUT so many prayers have been answered! He is doing all those listed except moving his legs. He has little movement in his left leg and very little if any in his right leg.

We are continuing to pray and stay positive. Their are so many wonderful people/businesses out there. And our family would just like to thank everyone for their prayers and donations. The donations have made this Christmas a little better!!!

Thank you to everyone who nominated and voted, and to our generous sponsors for helping to make this happen. This is truly what the holiday season is all about.