(COLORADO SPRINGS) — At just two years old, Cashton was met with a formidable villain that would keep him fighting for his life – Stage Four Neuroblastoma, a tumor in the adrenal glands above his kidneys.
“We told him that there was a bad guy in his tummy and we had to make sure we got the bad guy out,” said Mikayla, Cashton’s mother.
Diagnosed in September 2019, Cashton couldn’t understand what his body was fighting. With more doctor visits, scans, shots, therapy, and more, he knows his ‘villain’ is tougher and more real than most kids his age.
“Ever since then, he’s just been trying to fight to get better,” Mikayla stated. “He’s been through a lot of crazy treatment.”
After 18 months of chemo, radiation therapy, immunotherapy, and additional surgeries, Cashton was in remission for nine months, only to relapse in October 2021. This time, the cancer had spread to his brain.
“He had half of his skull removed,” said Mikayla. “He’s even got a 3D-printed skull that’s green.”
For months, Cashton lived without half a skull before he was stable enough to be fitted for a 3D-printed skull, according to Cashton’s father, Chris. Once Cashton’s brain stopped swelling, “[Cashton] thought it’s super cool he has a green skull, he’s like a superhero!” said Chris.
More blood transfusions and therapy followed, but that wouldn’t stop the now five-year-old Cashton from living life to the fullest.
He’s been busy learning how to be a firefighter with the Colorado Springs Fire Department (CSFD). A day in the life of Firefighter Cashton started off with a tour of the station, rides in the fire truck, and a slide down the fireman’s pole on Saturday, Jan. 21.
Among other skills, Cashton also learned how to dress in firefighter equipment. He was even able to go back in time and experience the City of Colorado Springs through old photos at the fire station.
“Cashton is the newest member of our Fire Department family and we were proud to have him spend the day with us,” said Captain Mike Smaldino, CSFD’s Public Informations Officer. “He now has about 500 new brothers and sisters in the CSFD and we are honored to be part of his journey and to fulfill his desire to be a part of Colorado Springs Bravest!”
Cashton was also the guest star at a local hockey game when he was brought out to the rink as the audience cheered his name.
“He is strong,” said Mikayla. “He’s a pretty happy boy considering everything he’s been through. He’s one of the biggest fighters I’ve ever met.”
Now, Mikayla and Chris want their son’s story to give hope and inspire other families.
“We’re just living day by day,” said Mikayla. “You do everything you need to do and then you just make sure that you spend all the time that you can. Make every moment last.”