Our Warriors Who Inspire Us

Aidan Zaugg






April 1, 2006



Currently Battling



Aidan was a charming boy who was diagnosed with an inoperable and fast-growing brain tumor known as DIPG at the age of four. When he entered a room, all eyes were instantly drawn to him. He was incredibly charismatic and could make everyone feel as if they were his favorite person. Aidan could always be counted on to crack a joke or bring a smile to the many faces that constantly surrounded him. He enjoyed working in the garden with his grandparents and going on excursions to explore new places. He loved doing craft projects so he could create new things and going shopping for clothes, especially if it was for something red. He adored anything Disney, and his trips to Disneyland were his favorites.

Aidan had always been very independent. Shortly before his diagnosis, he began wanting his parents to dress and feed him, and he no longer wanted to walk. When Aidan started dragging his left leg when he walked or ran, his parents knew something was wrong and that he needed to be evaluated by a doctor. The day of Aidan’s diagnosis was something no parent or child should ever go through. Hearing that Aidan had a brainstem tumor that would likely kill him within a year was gut-wrenching and changed their lives forever.

As a family, they chose not to use the word, cancer, with Aidan. One day before his diagnosis, Aidan slapped his forehead and exclaimed, “I have bugs in my brain, and they are eating my brain.” So, his family decided to use his terminology to explain things. They told him that he did indeed have bugs in his brain and he was going to have to undergo radiation and take medication to get rid of the bugs. Radiation was difficult for Aidan. It made him grumpy and left him exhausted. However, once he completed radiation, he began getting better. He lived and remained symptom-free until the summer of 2008 when an MRI showed his tumor was growing.

Aidan wanted nothing more than to be a big brother, like his older brother, Sage. One month before his tumor showed progression, his family welcomed his little brother, Tallon, into the world. Aidan was so thrilled. He was in the room during delivery and was filled with pure joy when Tallon was born. The first time Aidan held Tallon, he was beaming as he softly caressed Tallon’s hair, and he said to his dad, "You can touch his head like this. You just have to be soft daddy."

Aidan bravely battled for nearly two and a half years before he gained his angel wings at the age of 7. While some may cower when faced with a devastating diagnosis like DIPG, this cancer did not change Aidan, but Aidan used it to change the world. With strength, courage, faith, and a constant smile upon his face, Aidan inspired others to join the cause.

Funding for pediatric brain cancer research means someday no other family will suffer the pain of being told there is no hope and then watching their child die in front of their eyes. It means no more siblings will have to learn to navigate life after losing their brother or sister. It means families will no longer have to go to a cemetery to visit their children. It means a cure.