As a parent, we just need the best for our children. When they become ill, we watch out for them immediately, trusting that they show signs of improvement soon. We generally ensure that they are well taken-cared of and they are content with their lives as they grow older. No parent could ever see their kid becoming ill. However, nothing is more excruciating than discovering that your kid has cancer. How can you possible tell him that he’s sick and nothing else can be done?
Bill Kohler was a medic who worked for the Armed Forces. He was doing everything that he can to save the soldiers’ lives during his time, but he can’t do anything to save his son. Ayden is a 10-year-old boy who suffered from Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma or DIPG. According to his dad, the doctors found two tumors, one on his cerebellum and one on his brainstem. DIPG is rare cancer that directly affects the brain. Bill tried everything to save his son. He enrolled Ayden in different clinical trials to help him battle with his disease, but Aydan was rejected for numerous times. It is very painful for a dad to watch his son, knowing that nothing can be done and he only has 12 months to live.
Bill said, “It’s the hardest thing to explain to a child…”
To make Ayden’s last days memorable, they made a “Bucket List.” Ayden was a very active kid so they did everything to squeeze as much fun as they can possibly do. They met WWE stars, talked with a celebrity chef named Guy Fieri though FaceTime, and they even went hunting! They also teamed up with the York Generals Semi-Professional Football Team for a fundraising event.
Even though he had the time of his life, it eventually came to a point that Ayden can no longer eat or breath easily. This is when his dad heard the most heartbreaking words from Ayden:
“Dad, I gotta quit.”
As heartbreaking as it may have been, Bill still tried to be strong for his son. He told him that when it came to a point that there was no more fight left, it is okay to quit. Ayden was weak and hopeless, but he pushed on and made it seven months and seven days after his diagnosis.
Before Ayden passed away his final request was:
“If people gather to remember me, I want them to dance, sing, and take group pictures. If anyone asks how I want to be remembered, please say happy, funny, athletic, wise, fighter, caring, and selfless.”
Bill never stopped fighting to find a cure for the disease that stole his son’s life. Bill, together with their family members started the 4AydenStrong Foundation. This will help other children who are battling cancer and provide assistance to their families who are struggling financially.
Bill is also trying to convince lawmakers to fund for a research for pediatric cancer. He always supports parents who are struggling emotionally, frightened and worried about the future and also everything in between. He always encourages parents to keep pushing forward no matter what the outcome is. Bill was not only the rock for Ayden, he is now the helping hand and the crying shoulder of strangers who desperately needs his help, financially and emotionally.