Ryland Wade has epilepsy and spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. He's on a special diet to help control his seizures, but still has them multiple times a day.
Just before Samantha Wade took her son to Belden Village Mall in Canton on Sunday, he suffered a seizure.
"It really sapped his energy, but we didn't want that to stop him from meeting Santa. I mean, we’ve got to keep on going; we’ve got to give him a chance to experience things," Wade told WJW.
The event at the mall was for children with special needs, providing a quiet and relaxing environment for them to meet with St. Nick.
"When I set Ryland on his lap, he wouldn't open his eyes for anything," Wade said. "But Santa immediately cuddled with him, and very quietly talked to him for awhile. When it came time for a photo, he pretended like he was snoozing along with Ryland, making for one awesome picture, and a very memorable moment for us."
“I was so grateful he did that,” Wade told WJW. “Any Santa could’ve smiled but he was intuitive to Ryland's needs.”
The picture is now raising awareness about epilepsy and encouraging other parents of children with special needs.
Ryland does not respond to seizure medications and that's why his family is sending postcards to Ohio Gov. John Kasich. They are pushing for use of medical cannabis oil in the state of Ohio.
You can follow along with Ryland's journey on his Facebook page here