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Community Mourns Army Veteran’s Son Who Was Given His Final Dying Wishes

April 04, 2017

A Pennsylvania community celebrated the life of ten year-old Ayden Zeigler-Kohler, who battled a rare form of brain cancer for the last eight months.

Ayden was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma in August 2016. In the middle of football practice, Ayden collapsed. He was taken to the hospital and was told that he had a concussion. However, after some verbal and motor skills began to deteriorate, doctors found two tumors in his brain – one in his cerebellum and the other in his brain stem. His doctors told him that he only had 8 to twelve months to live.

His father, Bill Kohler, an Army veteran, decided to give him a lifetime of memories by creating a bucket list before passing away.

After posting his bucket list for Ayden on social media, the community rallied behind Kohler to help create special memories for his son.

The “Ayden’s Army” website and “4Ayden Strong” Facebook page was set up to help chronicle everything that has happened in the past several months to Ayden. A GoFundMe account was set up and well more than $100,000 was raised for the cause.

Ayden’s social worker helped him create a wish book, which guided Bill in finding out his son’s dreams

Ayden went on a fishing trip to Florida and was a special guest of the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Penn State basketball team. He also talked with chef Guy Fieri.

On March 22, Ayden lost his battle with cancer and passed away.

“To all who have been following Ayden, we have lost our battle today,” Kohler wrote. “Ayden has passed to a better place, and I would like to thank all those who have supported or followed him. He was my heart and the center of my world, and the love that was real. He was the greatest son I could ask for, and the greatest friend a son could be.”

Roughly 400 people came out to remember Ayden on Saturday at Utz Arena at the York Expo Center.