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TikTok Star MDMotivator Gifts Terminally Ill Child Unforgettable NBA Experience

Home / Entertainment / TikTok Star MDMotivator Gifts Terminally Ill Child Unforgettable NBA Experience

By Melanie VanDerveer on May 17, 2024 at 8:15 AM EDT

When Ryder Finkel was asked if he would rather have $1,000 cash or an NBA mystery ball by popular content creator Zachery Dereniowski, or MDMotivator, the 8-year-old chose the NBA mystery ball and then shared his story. 

This TikTok video comes with a warning - grab tissues.

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Ryder Finkel Chose The NBA Mystery Ball And Shared His Story

Ryder Finkel
TikTok | MDMotivator

When Dereniowski asked Ryder what happened to his eye, the sweet child opened up immediately.

“I have brain cancer. The brain cancer is putting pressure on my eye,” he said while holding his NBA mystery ball. When asked how he’s doing right now, he replied, “It doesn’t hurt or anything.” 

Ryder then showed his new friend his basketball moves and made a basket before his brother showed up to help him open the mystery ball. His brother read the note inside the box.

“On behalf of the Cleveland Cavaliers, you will be attending the NBA Playoffs, meeting all the players,” he read out loud. The two brothers were excited to hear they’d be attending an NBA game and meeting the players. 

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Zachery Dereniowski Took Ryder And His Brother To The Store To Gift Others

Something Dereniowski is well known for is paying it forward. He took the two boys to the store so Ryder could offer some shoppers $100 each. Ryder handed each person the money, hugged them and told them, “I love you more.” 

“Would you like $100?” Ryder asked a woman shopping. She replied, “Is this a trick?” Ryder replied, “No, I want to be kind.”

The communication between the two brought the woman to tears. 

Before leaving the store, Ryder’s brother gave him a hug and told him he loved him. “I love you more,” Ryder replied. 

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Ryder's Father Emotionally Shared More Of His Story

Tim Finkel
TikTok | MDMotivator

Ryder’s dad, Tim Finkel, shared a little of his son’s story. 

“He has DIPG, an inoperable brain tumor. You get this diagnosis and they say you’ll buy yourself four to six months. You know, create as many memories as you can, and you go from there,” he said holding back tears. “We say today is a great day. We don’t know what tomorrow holds, but today is a great day.”

The family has a GoFundMe page set up that explains more of Ryder’s story.

“On October 19th, 2023, our family received the news that our son Ryder Finkel has a rare form of childhood brain cancer. He has an inoperable tumor on his brain stem and we've been informed his time with us is limited,” the page description reads.

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“Ryder is a gift to all those around him. He has always been filled with nothing but love and positivity. We have always said from day one, ‘This kid just loves being alive.'”

They also explained that while the road ahead is unknown, they do know the “road will end.” The family is focused on “making the most of the moments” and donations will help them do just that “without the added stress of worrying about money.” 

“Whenever anyone tells Ryder ‘I love you,’ his immediate response is ‘I love you more,’” the story continues. “We love you all…and Ryder loves you more.” 

The page was started in late October and has received thousands of donations totaling $182,565! 

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Ryder And His Family Got To Experience An NBA Game Courtside!

MDMotivator on TikTok
TikTok | MDMotivator

As promised from choosing the NBA mystery ball, Ryder and his family got the chance to attend a recent Cavaliers playoff game.

They met the players, took pictures, and made some amazing memories together. Ryder got a jersey, the opportunity to dribble a ball on the court, watch the game from courtside, and even meet Richard Jefferson, former NBA player and current basketball analyst.

Dereniowski’s TikTok video quickly went viral with 10 million views and more than 23,000 comments. 

“Haven’t been able to stop thinking about this since it was posted 2 days ago. I’m absolutely sick for Ryder. The world needs more of his light,” one viewer wrote.

Another asked, “What is this boy's bucket list! We need to help fill it,” and many others commented they wanted to help, too. 

One other viewer said, “Today I realized my worries my cares are nothing. Today I learned there are people going through worse. Today this video hit me hard, to be 8 with spirit has broke me. God bless this young man.”

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Ryder's Dad Shared A Recent Update On Instagram

Wednesday was a “great day” for Ryder and his family. His father, Tim shared "positive news" on Instagram with a video montage of photos captioned, “Positive news! MRI results show no new growth or concerns. Please know, all of your overwhelming support and positivity has contributed to our success. We love you more. Today is a great day.”

Dereniowski dropped into the comments to say, “Best news I’ve heard in the longest time. Love you more Ryder.” 

Many others shared positive words for Ryder.

“We love you Ryder!! It was such a pleasure running into you on socials, I’m happy that you’re feeling better!! You are loved and you are strong!! Don’t you ever forget that friend,” one person wrote.

Another said, “Omg I just came across your story the other day it brought me to tears! I’ve been praying ever since. God bless I’m so happy to hear this.” 

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