COLUMBIA, Mo. - Aiden Taylor attends Shepard Elementary School in Columbia. Three weeks ago, doctors diagnosed the eight-year-old with a rare form of cancer called, medulloblastoma.
The cancer is so rare that it accounts for fewer than two percent of all brain tumors and affects the brain and spine.
Aiden's parents, Josh and Lisa Taylor, took him to see an eye doctor after months of complaints about headaches and trouble reading. Afters after that appointment, the phone rang. Doctors at the Children's Hospital in Columbia confirmed Aiden suffered from a brain tumor.
Days later, an MRI revealed three more tumors on his spine that causes significant leg pain.
So far, Aiden has undergone two surgeries. One successfully removed the mass from his brain. The second surgery on his spine showed the tumors were inoperable, wrapped within the nerves of spinal cord. Doctors said treatment would require special radiation and chemotherapy targeted to the molecular structure of each tumor.
The parents said the cancer cells have been in Aiden's body since he was born, but the tumors didn't form until four to six months ago. This rapid growth is a common symptom of the medulloblastoma. Because of the surgeries, Aiden is temporarily unable to walk or talk.
St. Jude's hospital in Memphis provides the treatment necessary but only has so much space. On Monday, the Taylor family received the news that the hospital had an opening for Aiden. By Tuesday afternoon, Aiden and his family started the journey to Memphis and his recovery. Lisa and Aiden arrived safely at the hospital late Tuesday night. They plan on remaining there for at least six weeks.
The trip to Memphis means the family must leave their jobs behind to face more medical bills and living expenses without any income. That's where "Aiden's Avengers" come into play.
What started with just the Taylor's neighbors, now, includes more than a thousand friends and supporters from within the Facebook community. The group has started planning numerous fundraising events to help the Taylor's foot the bill for their approaching medical expenses.
Lyndsy Richardson, a neighbor of the Taylor's said, any help from the community will allow the Taylor's to stay by Aiden's side on his road to recovery.
"You just have to try and put yourself in their shoes, and really try and say what would I want or what do I think I deserve if I were in their place," Richardson said.
To keep up with the fundraising efforts and Aiden's journey, join the Aiden's Avengers page on Facebook. The group plans to host a "Bake Sale and Craft Bonanza" at 1 p.m. on Sunday, February 16 at Stoney Creek Inn in Columbia. A portion of those proceeds will go to Aiden and his family.