Just before Hunter Aiton turned six, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a rare cancer that affects just one in a million children worldwide each year. The cancer was detected early under his right arm; however, within two weeks it had spread to both kidneys, his left thigh, and areas next to his pancreas and liver.
Throughout his fight against cancer, there were difficult periods Ė including losing his hair, a severely restricted diet, and not being able to play outside with his twin sister, Hailey. However, Hunter bravely underwent numerous chemotherapy treatments and never doubted he would be healthy again.
Today, Hunter is a vivacious seven-year-old who is using his own experience to help others battling cancer. Last summer, he helped raise money for St. Judeís Childrenís Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, where he received treatments that helped save his life. "I know there are kids who have cancer and are scared," Hunter says. "I want to help them live and let them know that Iím alive today." After more than 100 visits in 14 months to both hospitals, he is in remission.
Hunter enjoys being back at Mt. Carmel Elementary School. His parents, Jean and Lisa Aiton, believe Hunterís battle brought the family closer to each other, their friends, and coworkers, and appreciate the opportunity to raise community awareness for cancer. They say they have learned more from Hunterís courage than they have in their entire lives; the way he approached his treatments day to day with dignity and pure faith in God was inspirational. Hunter says that those suffering from cancer should let their faith be their guide. "I believe heavily that Jesus is taking care of me and that with God in your heart nothing is impossible."
Hunter says life is like a beautiful flower. The vision for his garden is one of hope and courage, one that speaks of faith and strength.