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Ashton's Army: Community rallies behind toddler battling aggressive form of pediatric cancer

Ashton with his parents Joseph and Tara Taylor.
Posted at 6:04 PM, Jan 17, 2023

ELYRIA, Ohio — An Elyria family is experiencing the unthinkable as their youngest child battles an aggressive form of cancer.

Thankfully, the family says they're not alone in their fight.

“This isn’t what a 3-year-old should be going through,” said Tara Taylor, Ashton’s mom.

Meet Ashton Taylor. He’s a small, yet mighty fighter battling an aggressive form of pediatric brain cancer. “It’s sad that he knows his whole life has been pain and heart and hospital visits and being in the ICU. It’s like Ashton has no idea that he has brain cancer,” said Tara Taylor.

Before Ashton developed the disease, Taylor describes her son as an energetic toddler.

“You would’ve never known that he had cancer when he was 1. He was running around here, happy,” said Taylor. “He’s always been the happiest baby.” Bu, Taylor says things took a drastic turn after Ashton got sick with the flu almost two years ago.

“He got (really) lethargic. His fever, vomiting… rushed him back (to the hospital) the next day. They did a scan of his head and that’s when they found fluid on the brain and his tumor,” said Taylor. Devastated, the family and doctors remained hopeful.

“When we had actually taken a sample of his tumor, it did come out to be a low-grade tumor... so it wasn’t as aggressive,” said Dr. Neha. Patel, a pediatric hematologist–oncologist at Cleveland Clinic.

Then, the family’s worst fear began settling in.

“Every scan the tumor was progressively getting bigger so we finally had to come, get inside ourselves and realize like, we can’t change this,” said Tara Taylor. “We can’t save this.”

Despite feeling helpless, Tara and her husband Joseph Taylor keep fighting, even as they prepare themselves and their family for the unthinkable.

I couldn’t imagine not being here with my son. Like I told people, I’d quit my job like how do you not be at home with your kid when they’re dying,” said Joseph Taylor, Ashton’s dad.

Unfortunately, doctors say there isn’t a cure for Ashton’s type of cancer.

But Dr. Neha Patel says there are initial signs parents can look out for, like double and blurred vision and headaches.

“Usually most of the time, the headaches that are caused by brain tumors are early in the morning, many times associated with nausea like getting sick in your stomach or throwing up, and then it can get worse and worse over time,” said Dr. Patel.

Thankfully, Ashton and his family have an army behind them from supporters like Eric Payne, who knows how to bring a smile to Ashton’s face.

Ashton likes jeeps. He’s a little kid who’s battling cancer, so when we see that, somebody said ‘Hey, they need some jeeps’, and I’m like okay let’s do it,” said Eric Payne.

“We’re having to slowly watch our child fade away from the cancer, and then to have no treatment, you have no treatment for it so it’s just like, it’s hard but the support has been amazing,” said Taylor.

Ashton will turn three exactly one week from today (Tuesday).

His parents say this is huge for their family because they didn’t think Ashton would make it to see his second birthday, so to celebrate they’re planning a big parade on Jan. 28 in his honor.

You can find more information about Ashton's Army, here.

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