Ten-year-old Ryer Kadyk came all the way from Spokane, Washington, to do two things: hang out with his namesake river otter pal and raise money for San Francisco’s Aquarium of the Bay. Ryer helped raise more than $175,000 at a charity auction hosted by Aquarium of the Bay, a watershed conservation organization made up of several local institutions, including Aquarium of the Bay, Studio Aqua, Bay Academy, Bay Model, the Bay Institute and Eco Expeditions.
Ryer gave a speech to 275 people, including the former prime minister of Greece, about his special friendship with the 8-year-old otter and even helped the auctioneer drum up enthusiasm during the event.
The first time the two Ryers met was just before spring break, when the aquarium reopened after a 49-week closure forced upon it by the pandemic. Ryer (The human) had been waiting to meet his furry buddy in person since last Christmas, when his mom Carolyn first learned the pair share a name. Since her son had never met anyone with the same name, she reached out to aquarium staff and asked to buy a Ryer River Otter plush toy for him as a present.
After opening his gift, Ryer was able to learn about the real otter from the aquarium’s website and soon decided to donate his Christmas money, cash from his piggy bank and a contribution from his older brother to the aquarium. Together with a second round of fundraising that involved the rest of the family, Ryer was able to send his otter friend a total of over $2,000.
“It’s really special for me because I’ve never met anyone else with my same name before.” “He’s just like me, playful and doesn’t get as motivated for food as his brother. He wants to play more than the other otters.”
The family’s unexpected donations were especially meaningful to aquarium staff since they arrived during the height of the pandemic, amid plummeting revenues and deep uncertainty for what the future might hold.
Ryer (The human) is now asking for your help, will you help him raise funds for his buddy, Ryer (North American River Otter) to help cover his care, feeding and animal enrichment? Please consider a donation to the “Ryer meets Ryer” Aquarium of the Bay Fund.
Send a message to the Ryers!