- Associated Press - Friday, June 20, 2014

COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) - A 5-year-old Columbus boy lost his battle to cancer 12 months ago, but his “Angels” are still fighting for a cure.

Just before preschool, Peyton Whittington was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a disease that strikes the brain stem and renders nervous system function impossible. He died a year later.

His parents, Lynn and John Whittington, still are grieving. But they are dedicating their lives to finding a cure.

Lynn Whittington launched the Peyton’s Angels Indiana Chapter of the Cure Starts Now in December. She has been preparing for the chapter’s first event ever since - and now it’s here.

Carnival for the Cure, an afternoon of games and prizes in memory of Peyton, will be from 1 to 5?p.m. Sunday at Ceraland Park, The Republic reported (http://bit.ly/1lQFKbn ).

All proceeds will go toward finding a cure for DIPG and other pediatric brain tumors. Statistics show that fewer than 10 percent of children diagnosed with the disease will live longer than 18 months, and survival is even rarer.

“I look at DIPG as an intruder who broke into our lives, tortured and killed my son,” Lynn Whittington said. “I’m going after this disease with everything I have.”

It was two years ago on Father’s Day when the Whittingtons’ world crumbled.

Peyton was learning to ride his bike on June 15. The next day, he felt dizzy and was seeing two trees in the family’s front yard where only one stands.

“He couldn’t even stand or walk,” John said. “He was acting the same as somebody who drinks too much, but the problem is it just keeps going.”

Peyton was bleeding in his brain and was rushed by ambulance to Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health in Indianapolis on June 17.

He fell asleep there during an MRI - the moment doctors realized how serious Peyton’s illness was.

“The doctor burst through the doors and started shaking him,” his mother said.

“She said he should not be sleeping. He was slipping into a coma. She said, ‘We need to do something now, or we’ll lose him.’”

The tumor was in his brain stem and it could not be removed.

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