WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - For Ryan Barnett, life without his loved ones has been tough. The Riviera Beach teen's three brothers, one sister and mother were shot and killed by their stepfather who also killed himself.
Ryan's 16th birthday was four days after the incident.
"He was involved in a very tragic event. But these tragic events happen every single day. You don't have to isolate yourself...you have to get back out into the community and say 'I am a survivor...I made it and I'm gonna live as such,' " said Heather Barnett-Smith, Ryan's cousin.
Ryan was shot in the neck and had surgery. Outside of counseling, physical therapy and school work Ryan keeps his daily routine simple.
He is a sophomore and an honor student at Dwyer High School. As he continues to heal mentally and physically, Ryan is already thinking about life after high school
"I wanna go to UF (University of Florida) and get my bachelors and then get my M.D.," said Barnett.
Ryan's father, Michael Barnett, and another family member set up "The Barnett Children Tragedy Fund" with Wachovia Bank. His father says all money donated is strictly being used to fund his son's college goals.
Ryan said he'd like to be a pediatrician some day. For now he is doing his schoolwork from home. His father hopes he gets back in the classroom by January.
©2007 The E.W. Scripps Co. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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