GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.—At the age of 10, Mitchell Buning has experienced more challenges than many will in a lifetime. But he's using the negatives and turning them into a big positive. After finding out he had a brain tumor, Mitchell fought back and found a way to help others battling the disease.
"Mitchell has always been , from the time he was little, a very stubborn, independent, do it my way kind of kid," said mom Rebecca Buning. "After the initial shock wore off for him, he tackled it head on."
Mitchell was nine, when the first signs started to show that something was very wrong. Headaches at all times of the day led his mom to take him to the doctor. After weeks of symptoms, they learned he had a brain tumor.
"It was caught early and it was four centimeters already, so it was a decent size when it was found," explained Rebecca. "When I told Mitchell, his first question was 'am I gonna die?' How do you answer that?"
Doctors were able to remove the whole tumor through surgery. Recovery time followed at Mary Free Bed, along with about 10 months of chemotherapy. On April 2, 2012, the Bunings got the good news that Mitchell was cancer-free.
"I was excited," Mitchell told FOX 17 News.
Now back on his feet, Mitchell is planning to take some steps to help others fighting the disease this weekend, as an Ambassador for Miles of Hope's 2nd Annual Moving Towards a Cure 5K Run/Walk.
Miles for Hope is a national non-profit raising money for brain tumor research, clinical trials and for medically needy travel assistance for brain tumor patients.
Last year, Mitchell was mid-treatment and unable to take part in the walk. This year, he'll be taking strides along with his family. Their team has close to 50 members and has raised about $5,500 thousand dollars so far.
"I hope he sees how strong he is," said Rebecca. "Not only through this, but in years to come... that he's a pretty amazing little boy."
Mitchell is a straight A student heading into the sixth grade this Fall. He still undergoes scans every three months to make sure his condition remains clear.
The Moving Towards a Cure 5K Brain Tumor Awareness Run/Walk is scheduled for Saturday, August 4th at Comstock Riverside Park located at 2001 Monroe Ave NW in Grand Rapids.
You can still sign up at the event. Same day registration begins at 8 AM. The event begins at 9 AM. For more information, click here.