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CHAPTER 1: THE DAWN OF A RADIANT LIFE

In the quiet corners of Carrollton, Texas, in a simple and welcoming apartment, a new life took its first breath on June 7, 2007. His name was Ruzaani, a moniker derived from a Zapoteco dialect, meaning "he who shines." A name that wasn't merely an identifier but an apt prophecy of the radiant life he was destined to lead.


Each passing day in Ruzaani's early years was an expedition marked by his innocent fascinations and pure-hearted delights. He found music in the melodies of "Father Abraham," his most cherished tune, and amusement in his companionship with Gigi, his mother's white poodle, his first furry friend.


His young eyes lit up at the sight of fire trucks, a red blur of excitement and wonder. Bugs, too, were a source of fascination for Ruzaani, each one a tiny marvel worthy of his gentle touch. Simple pleasures, like feeding ducks with bread, were infused with an unmatched joy that Ruzaani effortlessly spread around him.


His parents, Mathieu and Peggy May were his rock; their dedication was the anchor amidst the sea of life's mysteries. Peggy, a teacher, decided to stay at home after Ruzaani's first year, prioritizing her precious son over her profession. She recognized Ruzaani's uniqueness, a bright star in their humble universe.


Mathieu, his father, affectionately christened him "FBI," a playful nickname that encapsulated Ruzaani's inherent curiosity. Ruzaani was an explorer in his miniature world, investigating purses, bags, cabinets, and closets, extracting items, and immersing himself in the joy of discovery.


Despite his tender years, Ruzaani's faith ran deep. He prayed fervently, a bond with God that outshone his age. His prayers, heartfelt and sincere, often circled longing for a sibling, someone to share his journey of growing up.

A Walk to Remember: Text
A Walk to Remember: Video

CHAPTER. 2: THE ANSWERED PRAYERS

God gifted him a sister, and Ruzaani was ecstatic. He cherished her from the moment their paths intertwined, his love evident in his eager eyes and wide smile. From then on, they were inseparable, two rays from the same radiant sun.


His intellectual curiosity bloomed early, leading him to discover the joy of reading at just five. His frequent visits to the local library were expeditions in their own right, each book a door to a new world, each story a new adventure. He also nurtured an affection for animals, adopting a rabbit, fondly nicknamed "Chouchou," and with it, he discovered a new dimension of companionship.


His zest for life often drew him outdoors. Soccer games in the local field marked his weekends. He reveled in his role as a defender, unyielding and determined. The thrill of the game, the camaraderie with his teammates, and the jubilation of a well-earned victory were exhilarating.

Then there were the RC airplanes, fascinating contraptions that promised adventures in the sky. Although they didn't always take off, the joy was in the attempt, in anticipation of seeing them soar.


Traveling to Mexico, he discovered the magic of beaches. He spent countless hours creating sand castles, masterpieces that captured his creativity. His vocabulary, a delightful mix of Spanish and English, painted a charming picture of his multicultural experiences.


This phase of Ruzaani's life was also marked by annual camping trips that ignited his love for nature and adventure. They were perfect opportunities for Ruzaani to spread his wings, challenge himself, and bond with nature. The rolling hills, the whispering trees, and the star-studded skies were far from his usual environment, but they spoke to him in a language that resonated with his adventurous spirit.

A Walk to Remember: Text
A Walk to Remember: Video

CHAPTER 3: THE UNFURLING OF CURIOSITY

Ruzaani's journey of self-discovery continued to unfold as he entered his teenage years. His inquisitive nature grew more robust, and he developed a keen ability to question and logically challenge his surroundings. This thirst for understanding propelled him to explore new interests and passions.


One of Ruzaani's early influences came from watching his father coach soccer. He became fascinated by the art of planning and executing game-winning strategies. This ignited a passion for strategic thinking, and he eagerly absorbed every lesson he could learn from the game.


In his church community, Ruzaani discovered his talent for being popular and funny. His infectious laughter and light-hearted jokes endeared him to others, and he relished the joy of making people smile. As he became more involved in the church, he took on leadership roles, eventually becoming the captain of his bible memorization team. He led his team to first place year after year, showcasing his dedication and commitment to his faith.


Driven by his love for adventure, Ruzaani discovered rock climbing, bouldering, mountain biking, and parkour. He dreamed of traveling to France, inspired by his heroes, to test his skills on the world-renowned cliffs. Ru planned future climbing expeditions with his dad, bonding over their shared passion for scaling new heights. Alongside one of his best friends, he explored the bike trails for hours, reveling in the freedom and exhilaration of riding through nature. The physical exertion balanced his emotions, providing an outlet for any pent-up frustrations or anxieties.


Introducing a cell phone into Ruzaani's life marked a turning point. Suddenly, friendships and social connections became more important to him. The device opened up a world of communication and interaction, and he eagerly embraced the opportunity to connect with others. Also, the occasional late-night cartoon when he swiped his grandmother's iPad.


But amidst the excitement and exploration, a dark cloud loomed over Ruzaani's life. 

A Walk to Remember: Text
A Walk to Remember: Video

CHAPTER 4: THE UNWANTED REVELATION

In September 2022, the brilliance of a sunny day stood in stark contrast to the shadow it cast over Ruzaani's life. What began as a minor, nagging pain in his right leg soon became an insistent torment that started to slow him down. This discomfort slowly shifted him from the joyful frenzy of life to the sidelines, trapping him in the austere concrete confines of doctor's consultation rooms.


A trembling sheet of paper gripped in his hand, a detailed decryption of his body's rebellion, painted a terrifying picture—words that felt alien yet ominously intimate danced before his eyes: aggressive, advanced, survival odds. In the ominous silence that filled the oncologist's office, the gravity of Ruzaani's diagnosis started to sink in.


The revelation struck with the unsuspected ferocity of a stray bullet - high-grade osteosarcoma. A terrifying question then loomed over Ruzaani and his family, which no one ever wishes to confront: Had the disease extended its reign of terror to his lungs? The stark figures thrust upon him painted a grim picture, with the survival rate plummeting from a hopeful 70-75% to a mere 30% if this were true. A vicious war against cancer was thus announced, transforming Ru's battlefield from the lively sports fields to the clinical, sterile corridors of the hospital.


His invisible foe proved itself a formidable adversary. The cancerous tendrils had indeed infiltrated his lungs, mocking the attempts to curb their growth with medicine. Yet amidst the encroaching abyss of despair, a ray of hope pierced through, illuminating a potential path to victory. As winter blanketed the world outside and Christmas cheer hung in the air, Ruzaani prepared for a surgery that promised a pivotal strike against the disease. The successful eviction of the tumor from his knee was a small but significant victory, a testament to their fight, cherished as their Christmas miracle.


But the cloud of despair returned swiftly. Despite the family's relentless pursuit of healing, the chemo failed to clear his lungs' of the cancerous fog. The war was far from won; the finish line had cruelly retreated further into the distance.

A Walk to Remember: Text
A Walk to Remember: Video

CHAPTER 5:   THE UNCONVENTIONAL PATH

The daunting battle ahead appeared dark, but a flicker of light at the end lingered. Chemo was difficult. There was one question that everyone had to wrestle with, what to do next? 

Choosing to tread an unconventional path, they turned to naturopathic treatment in Mexico. This deviation from traditional medicinal practices starkly contrasted prevailing medical beliefs. In February 2023, Ru, his sister, and his mother found themselves in the terrains of Mexico,  offering them a glimmer of hope in their fight against the odds.

The treatment in Mexico was unlike anything Ru had ever experienced. His body seemed to respond positively, a sharp contrast to the severe effects of his chemotherapy.

Ru was in high spirits, invigorated by the promise of the naturopathic treatment. The journey was far from over, but for the first time in months, Ruzaani felt a surge of optimism. He was on an unseen path, one with uncertain outcomes. But for now, he was content knowing he was giving himself the best chance at life, no matter how unconventional the route.

A Walk to Remember: Text
A Walk to Remember: Video

CHAPTER 6: THE FAREWELL

Ru's decline was swift, but the end was slow. 


Since the decision to venture to Arizona was made, his parents provided unwavering support, cradling Ru in a cocoon of love amplified by the extended family's warmth. Fluid invaded his lungs, each breath a greater struggle than the last, prompting the hospital team to transition from a morphine drip to a steady intravenous line.


In the pristine sterility of the hospital room, Ruzaani lay in stillness, his relentless struggle against cancer coming to an end. The alarms ceased their chilling chorus, leaving behind an almost tangible silence, a silence that hung heavy with the weight of their loss. It felt like the world had halted on its axis, holding its breath in reverence for the departing warrior.


As he matured, Ruzaani continued to dazzle everyone around him. His spirit, as luminescent as his name, was infectious, touching lives with its warmth. Despite his untimely departure from this world, Ruzaani's light lives on, an eternal beacon in the hearts of those who loved him—a testament to the beauty and marvel of life, a walk to remember.

A Walk to Remember: Text
A Walk to Remember: Video
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