Peyton was a kind, loving, smart, and beautiful young girl with a powerful connection to nature and passion for animals. She was a bug and critter kid from birth—spending most of her life searching out and caring for small animals, from frogs to worms, ladybugs to caterpillars. Around her 3rd birthday, she became passionate about horses. When she discovered that we could never have a horse in our back yard, she decided that we needed to live on a farm. One Memorial Weekend at the lake, she was adopted by a baby duck she named Sunshine. Sunshine followed her all over the beach and when it was time to go home, the duckling followed her all the way up the road. She went on to fall in love with kittens, then hamsters, guinea pigs, and bunnies. Peyton was born with a gift of love and tenderness for life.
She loved spending her free time at Priest Lake, Idaho, where she swam with her brother & friends, ran like a horse on the beach and fished each morning with mom and dad. She loved to roast marshmallows by the campfire, dig in the dirt with the boys and take long walks on the trails. In the winter, she loved the raging fires and long snowmobile rides.
In November of 2010, Peyton was diagnosed with DIPG or Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, a rare, inoperable brain tumor located in the brainstem. Affecting primarily children, it is the most rare and deadliest of all pediatric brain tumors (click here for more info on DIPG).
Approximately 150 to 200 children are diagnosed with this type of tumor each year, and survival time is typically just nine to twelve months from diagnosis. She received radiation treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital & University of Washington Medical Center. After completion, she grew stronger and showed great improvement each day. She enjoyed an incredible summer at her favorite place, Priest Lake, Idaho. At the end of summer, her symptoms rapidly progressed and she passed away on October 23, 2011.
Her dream to have a farm was as strong as ever. When asked what she wanted to be when she grew up, she always gave the same answer, “I want to be a horse farmer and have lots of animals.” Through Peyton’s Ranch, she will be able to share her love for animals, life and kindness with other children like herself. You can read more about her story and battle with DIPG on our CaringBridge website at: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/peytonrudkin