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After 8-month fight, cancer-stricken boy says goodbye

Written by Kate Penn/York Daily Record | Mar 23, 2017 1:26 PM
ayden1.jpg

Bill Kohler comforts his son, Ayden Ziegler-Kohler, 10, as he sits on their patio with his dog, Zuko. Ayden, who has a rare childhood cancer and limited mobility, was upset after seeing other kids out playing on the playground. (Photo: Kate Penn, York Daily Record)

(Undated) --The boy's family knew it was coming, the day his heart would stop beating.

They'd known since August, when he was diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer at nine-years -old. Doctors said he had eight to 12 months to live.

He didn't even make it eight months.

Ayden Zeigler-Kohler died Wednesday in his Springettsbury Township home, surrounded by people who loved him. He was 10.

Ayden Zeigler-Kohler, 10, died less than 8 months after being diagnosed with a rare childhood cancer. His father, Bill Kohler, tried to find a way to say goodbye. Kate Penn

* * *

The final months of Ayden's short life were filled with adventures. His father, Bill Kohler, made sure of that.

Between doctor's appointments, chemotherapy and MRIs, they tried to fit a full life into a few months.

After they shared their story in February, people from around the world reached out, offering to help them make lasting memories.

Friends and complete strangers raised nearly $90,000 in the last month to help cover costs.

He went on hunting and fishing trips, spending hours with his family outside -- one of his favorite places.

Ayden, who could no longer walk, clung to his father's back on the way to visit bear cubs in the woods. They nuzzled his cheeks and curled up in his lap, a moment set up by the Pennsylvania Game Commission.

Duff Goldman from "Ace of Cakes" and Guy Fieri, a restaurant owner and  TV personality, called to talk to Ayden.

And on Sunday, he went backstage at a WWE match to meet some of his professional wrestling heroes.

This weekend, they were supposed to see the Harlem Globetrotters, a trick basketball team.

* * *

Ayden's two older brothers were among the family that had gathered at his bedside Monday night. The three of them had a saying they would recite to each other. Together, they said it one last time.

"Bub, I love you to the moon and back," said Arian Kohler.

"And to the end of the world," said Ayden.

He pointed to his second brother.

"And to the end of the sun," finished Pierce Bloom.

Ayden didn't wake up again after Tuesday night. His young heart held on until Wednesday morning. When it finally stopped, his dad went to his side.

"Thank you for giving me everything you've given," he said. "Go run again, play again. I love you, son."

York Daily Record.

Published in News, York

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