YORK, Pa. – Sadness turned to celebration. A 10-year-old boy diagnosed with a rare type of cancer passed away from the disease on March 22. Today, family and friends gathered in York at the Utz Arena to celebrate Ayden Zeigler-Kohler's life one final time.
Family fondly remember Ayden and say they feel inspired by the way he lived his life both before and after the diagnosis.
"He just gave his all and his best,” said Jennifer Zeigler, Ayden’s mother.
The ten-year-old boy who kept fighting, despite a rare type of cancer, DIPG, Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, which caused Ayden to develop two tumors in his brain.
"Just look at everything he's accomplished. That's hard to forget. I mean he's put all these people here. He's brought our family together,” said Alexandria Kohler and Kayla Lentz, Ayden’s sisters.
Known as an inspiration, Ayden fought the cancer for 8 months after the diagnosis in August, 2016.
"He was my miracle from the beginning,” said Jennifer. She said she wasn’t believed to be able to have children – until Ayden.
Ayden told his family he wanted a celebration to mark his passing.
"He said he wants everyone to sing, dance, and take group photos,” said Arian Kohler, his brother.
So Ayden’s family held his final goodbye at the arena in York, surrounded by things Ayden loved - his hunting adventures, camo, the Steelers, his favorite team, and all of his loved ones.
"I’d give anything for one more hug,” said Alexandria Kohler tearfully.
Family and friends believe Ayden lived a lifetime in those 8 months.
"He was just ready. He did everything he ever wanted. He lived a better life than most ever people live of dreaming,” added Arian.
Everyone inspired by the way Ayden lived.
"He brought out the best in everybody, and I think that was his purpose - to draw us all together,” said Reaper with the United States Military Vets Motorcycle Club.
"He has and will make me a better person,” added Arian.
"I do believe I will see him again, and I know he's in heaven,” said Zeigler.
Friends and family had a song written in Ayden’s honor. His family says he fought up until the end and did all the things he loved - especially hunting. They want to continue to raise awareness about the cancer which took his life – DIPG - and raise money for research.