Ryan James VerkaikMay 15, 2003 ~ October 17, 2017 (age 14)
It is with tremendous sadness and relief that we share the news of Ryan James Verkaik’s death. The war he fought here on earth for the last 14 years ended when he took his last breath on October 17, 2017 in the place he loved, surrounded by people he loved, as his cows and dog and rabbits and chickens stood nearby. He is finally free of the pain and agony from his broken body and joins his brother, Tyler Brett Verkaik, in the safe and loving arms of Jesus … although we are fairly certain that he’s already coordinated a baseball game with his brother. And this time he will PLAY the game instead of referee or watch from the stands!
Ryan taught us how to live. He was a wise, old soul in a young boy’s body. He looked at the world differently. He lived courageously. He fought bravely. And loved fiercely … because a part of him always knew he didn’t quite fit in in this world. God had a different plan for him from the very beginning. Even still he found ways to live well each day, whether being outside with his animals, inside with his Legos, watching Star Wars, talking about baseball, savoring a Starbucks frappuccino, or enjoying an In-n-Out burger. He always found reasons to keep living, laughing, and loving and through it all, he never stopped praising his Savior. While the journey was hard and the pain was real, it was a true privilege to be his mom and dad.
Ryan leaves behind many amazing doctors, nurses, and therapists, who worked every single day to make his life the best it could be. Because of Ryan, steps forward have been made as the medical world continues to learn about Dyskeratosis Congenita. He connected the world … Germany to California, to Minnesota, to Maryland, to Texas, to Ohio, and yet he was able to spend his last days in the comfort of his own home, enjoying his cows outside his window from the recliner.
Ryan is survived by his loving and heartbroken parents, Michael and Colleen Verkaik, and his grandparents Pete and Marcia Verkaik, and Willie and Jolene Bylsma. He leaves behind his extended family as well as friends who have become family, far too many to list.
We invite you to join us in celebrating the life of our precious son. The service will be held on Wednesday, October 25th at Monte Vista Chapel, 1619 E. Monte Vista Avenue in Turlock, CA at 11:30am.
In lieu of flowers we encourage you to continue Ryan’s legacy and donate to a gofundme memorial account set up in his honor. All proceeds will be forwarded to the University of Minnesota's Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant research program as well as Nationwide Childrens Hospital Pediatric Lung Transplant program. https://www.gofundme.com/ryan-verkaik-memorial-fund