The next time you contemplate life as tough, spare a thought for 10-year-old Ayden Zeigler-Kohler, diagnosed last year with a rare and aggressive form of cancer, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG.
Last year in August, a young, healthy and robust child collapsed in the middle of football practice. Ayden Zeigler-Kohler was rushed to hospital and his father was told it was a likely concussion. But after going home, Ayden deteriorated rapidly – verbal and motor skills were fast degrading, and eventually, two tumors were diagnosed. One was in his brain stem, the other in his cerebellum.
Young Ayden, in August, was given a prognosis of 8 to 12 months – 7 months ago.
His father, a medic in the Iraq war returned an alcoholic. Only when Ayden was born, did he recover.
“My whole world changed,” Kohler said. “He saved my life.”
But facing this new challenge, Kholer contemplates his helplessness. “I was a medic in the war, you know, and you fix things,” Kohler said. “And this was something I couldn’t even touch.”
The community has rallied behind Ayden and his fight, helping the family cram a lifetime of experiences into the few precious months they may have left.
Ayden has gone through the rounds of radiation treatment, speech therapy and other medical treatments in hopes to cure him. Ayden’s father spent hours applying for clinical trials.
The family are not giving up hope, however. And with the help of Ayden’s social worker, Ayden created a wish book – to give him some choice with his life, after so much has been taken away from him.
One question in the book asks: “If I am very sick and may die I wish to be:”
Ayden finishes the sentence: “in the woods.”
A GoFundMe page has been established with the end goal of $150,000. At the time of publishing this, the money raised so far stands at $78,405. If you can contribute, in any way possible, even with words, help this young boy realize and reach all his dreams.
And just remember, every moment of life counts – you only truly have today, and some don’t even have that.
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