Dad comforts cancer-stricken son – then his boy says 3 words that crush his entire world

No parent wants to see their child get sick. It doesn’t seem right that a child should develop a disease like cancer and have to suffer —  it’s heartbreaking.

There are few things that tear a bigger hole in the heart than seeing a child fighting cancer. Having to nurse your child through harsh chemotherapy treatment is something I wouldn’t wish on any parent.

Those parents that are told their child’s illness is terminal and they have no options left is something no parent should have to bear.  How do you cope? How do you get through it?

Facebook / 4AydenStrong

Army medic Bill Kohler had devoted much of his life to helping others.

Bill could handle severe injuries; it was often the case that they could be saved.

But there was a force in his life that Bill was unable to treat. At just nine years old his son Ayden was diagnosed with two tumors called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG  —  an unforgiving cancer.

Ayden Strong
Facebook / 4AydenStrong

Doctors told Kohler his son had eight to 12 months to live. Dad Bill tried everything to save his son.

“I was a medic in the war, you know, and you fix things,” Bill told York Daily Record. “And this was something I couldn’t even touch.”

Facebook / 4AydenStrong

As an army medic, Bill kept calm even in stressed and pressing situations. But it was difficult for him to be calm when it concerned his own son.

After months of trying to save his son, he realized there was nothing he could do and so decided to spend the short time he had left with his boy living life to the full.

Facebook / 4AydenStrong

To make the rest of Ayden’s days on earth memorable, he and Bill made a list of things they wanted to do before Ayden got too sick to leave the hospital.

The community helped Ayden’s family live their life to the full. He was a special guest at football and basketball games and went on a fishing trip in Florida.

Ayden wrote in a journal that if he was to die he would like to be in the woods, so that’s where his dad took him as often as possible to enjoy the great outdoors and have as much fun as possible.

Facebook / 4AydenStrong

Even though Ayden was ticking all his dreams off his bucket list, his health was deteriorating and eventually he was admitted to hospital.

With his dad at his bedside Ayden held on for as long as possible but then whispered three words that shattered his father’s world: “Dad, I gotta quit.”


Ayden had reached the point where he had fought so hard there was no fight left. His father told his son: “If you’ve fought as much as you can and as hard as you can and you feel you fought that hard. I promise you it’s okay to quit”


Before he died, Ayden said he wanted to be remembered as happy, funny, athletic, wise, fighter, caring and selfless.


To honor Ayden’s battle and his life, Bill continues to fight to find a cure for the illness that stole his boy’s life, far too early.

He and his family members created the organization 4AydenStrong Foundation. The organization supports other children who are diagnosed with cancer. It also helps families to pay expensive bills and cover other costs. Bill also campaigns to fund more research into the disease that killed his son.

Bill has become the rock for all those who are forced to deal with cancer and for those parents who have to watch their children suffer.


What Bill is doing, despite his huge loss, is admirable. I’m sure Ayden is looking down on his dad so proud of all he is doing. I know that Ayden’s death was not in vain.

Please share to raise awareness of this terrible disease and pay tribute to a brave guy and a dad who never stops fighting for the one he loved most of all.