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"He still had joy in his days" Loved ones celebrate the life of young teen

Posted at 5:45 AM, Apr 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 08:46:39-04

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — A community is mourning the loss of a young teen who passed away this month.

Parker Carden's friends and family are remembering the enormous impact he made in just his short 13 years.

"Everybody knew who he was," said Parker's mom, Jennifer Ryan.

Parker was a boy who loved being surrounded by brothers Austin and Jackson. Who loved to sing and talk about his faith. And, who loved Thomas the Train.

Parker was a fighter from the very beginning.

"He had Bardet Biedl Syndrome, which is a rare genetic disorder, and he also had Muscular Dystrophy and Still's disease, so he won the lottery of all the rare genetic things you can have," Ryan explained. "That was frustrating, but he rolled with it. He had tubes everywhere, and was on a ventilator and he still had joy in his days. "

Parker loved baseball and enjoyed his time playing with the West Michigan Miracle League. He was also a Lori's Voice kid. The organization helps get medical equipment for children with special needs. Lori's Voice donated a wheelchair-accessible van for Parker and his family.

"Parker came up to me and he was so excited," Founder, Lori Hastings recalled. "What a beautiful child."

As Parker's diseases started taking a toll on his body, he made sure to live life to the fullest. Make-a-Wish Michiganeven granted Parker a trip to Disney just months before he passed away.

Parker eventually took his last breath April 16th. Family friends have set up a Go Fund Me account to assist the family during this difficult time.

"He loved friends and he loved people and he wanted to make people feel good about themselves." Ryan said. "I hope that that's what people remember, is that kindness makes a big difference in everyone's life."