Like most 5-year-olds, Hayden Johnson has a 1,000-watt smile, a bubbly personality and endless questions about how things work. He also has a "chordoma," a rare type of tumor that is diagnosed in only about 300 people in the United States each year.
The tumor is growing around the brain stem at the base of his skull. Doing nothing is not an option: if left alone, the tumor will choke off the connection between his brain and his body.
Hayden was diagnosed when he was just 3 years old. His parents, Christy and David, noticed that one of his eyes was turning in and he often complained of headaches. They saw a pediatric opthalmologist who said Hayden's optic nerve was fine, but Christy pushed for a CT scan, and when they got it on Aug. 29, 2006, the doctors saw the chordoma right away.
For the full story, see Friday's Tribune.