Kolton, Age 9, Brain tumor

A skip in his step, a song in his heart

Nine-year-old Kolton Asbury personifies the old Irish blessing that says “those who bring sunshine to the lives of others cannot keep it from themselves.” Despite being diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was only 18 months old, Kolton keeps an upbeat attitude, and even at a very young age, knows that life is a gift.

(2005) – When Kolton was just over a year old, his mother, Jennifer, noticed something strange in his eye – a wiggle.  Kolton’s pediatrician told Jennifer that it was nothing to be alarmed about, but motherly intuition took over.  She decided to take Kolton to an eye doctor and as soon as she knew it, Kolton was admitted to Texas Children’s Hospital.

It was then that Jennifer learned that Kolton had a brain tumor –  a tumor in the pituitary gland, near the optical nerve.  Jennifer was living every parent’s nightmare.

“How could my baby have a brain tumor?” said Jennifer.  “You hear about adults having brain tumors, but not children.  I kept telling myself that this wasn’t happening.”

Kolton had surgery in 1998 to remove part of the tumor.  Not all of it could be removed because of its location – so close to the optic nerve.  The rest of the tumor, doctors said, was inoperable.  Soon after his surgery, Kolton started radiation and chemotherapy as part of his treatment program.

By age 2, despite what the doctors had told Jennifer, Kolton was walking, talking and was even potty-trained.  He had overcome tremendous odds.

But other challenges lie ahead.

His brain tumor has left Kolton blind.  He is completely blind in his right eye and has tunnel vision in his left eye – he can only see about the width of a straw.

But if you met Kolton, you would have no idea.  This chatty, polite young man always has a smile on his face and a skip in his step – he defines the term “happy.”

He continues to be on chemotherapy, which has stabilized the size of his tumor, but has not made it disappear.

“I’m trying to make life as normal for him as possible,” said Jennifer.

For now, Kolton is enjoying his role as big brother to 15-month old, Jena.  If you ask Kolton what he thinks about his baby sister, he will probably tell you that “she’s a keeper.”