Warwick mother makes ultimate sacrifice for daughter
WARWICK, R.I. (WLNE) – Andrea Ryder was born and raised in Rhode Island. She grew up in Warwick and entered the U.S. Marine Corps after graduating high school.
Ryder did two tours in the Middle East: one in Iraq, and one in Afghanistan.
“Selfless, brave, courageous,” said Dennis Bourassa when describing his wife, Ryder.
The couple met when Ryder returned to America.
“I worked at Pepsi and she worked at Dunkin’ Donuts. I would go there on my breaks,” recalled Bourassa.
In 2012, Ryder faced a new type of battle. She was diagnosed with stage 3 melanoma.
Bourassa and the military community, like Operation Stand Down, were immediately by her side.
“It was a constant battle. She had a lot of operations and treatments,” said Bourassa. “I don’t think we could have made it without all the support that we had.”
In 2014, Ryder and Bourassa finally got some good news. They were expecting a baby girl. But in order for Ryder to carry out the pregnancy, she would have to stop her cancer treatment, putting her life at risk.
“I think she made a choice that she could live with, no matter how long or short it was. She chose to give Olivia life, and I believe Olivia gave her life,” said Bourassa.
Later that year, the couple welcomed baby Olivia into the world. But at the same time, Ryder’s cancer progressed to stage 4.
On June 29th, 2020, Ryder passed away in hospice care. She was 34-years-old.
On July 7th, she was laid to rest with military honors. Her ultimate sacrifice was not for her country, but for her daughter.
“She was an incredible person,” said Bourassa.