MOUNT HOLLY, NC (WBTV) - Aaron Ledford fought for his life at two years old. He won. The right side of this picture collage is him today… eighteen years later… at the age of twenty.
It began in 1999 with several months of ear problems. Those ear issues turned into revealing a brain tumor. This Mount Holly toddler underwent an immediate operation at Carolinas Medical Center, spent a month in ICU, had aggressive surgery, 33 high radiation treatments at St. Jude's and endured rehabilitation.
That wasn't even the end. When Aaron and his family were finally able to return home to Gaston County, he had to relearn how to walk, talk and eat. It was only then that healing, hormone therapy and daily shots began, all followed by more rehab.
But Aaron fought. Hard. His mom, Amy, said despite all his obstacles he was a happy little boy who loved to read and color.
"His patience was unbelievable," Amy wrote in a long and personal email. "As was his drive and love for life."
Aaron is now a student at Western Carolina University where he works for the football team and is studying to be an engineer. He enrolled in college after graduating from East Gaston High School.
He has loved sports, and in the past tried out for them. He was an honorary member of a travel soccer team.
"He has never let his disabilities keep him for anything," Amy said. "A lot of kids might not try out for sports if they were in Aaron's position. Not him. He wanted to shoot high. Some goals he exceeded and some he didn't, but he never let that discourage him. My son's determination is an inspiration to me. I thought maybe you could share him and he could inspire others as well. I couldn't be more proud."