POLAND, Ohio — For the last two and a half years, we've really enjoyed getting to know 6-year-old Andrew Codner and how much he's made us smile.
He's a brave, funny, little boy who's been battling cancer.
In the past, Andrew's parents, Kolt and Tristan Codner, have been the ones to talk about his tough treatments and the ups and downs of the disease.
Lately, Andrew has wanted to share his story himself.
"It felt sad when I found out I had Leukemia. But then treatment ... this happens as a part of life," Andrew said in a video made by Kolt.
He also told us about his journey last month, when we went to visit him at his home in Poland, Ohio.
"With me, it's like dying inside ...the leukemia," Andrew said. "So, like when they're fighting, all my white blood cells didn't get hurt at all."
He's endured more in his young life than one could imagine, yet it's never stolen his sense of humor.
"What made you feel better in the hospital?," we asked him.
"All the toys!" Andrew answered.
These days, despite a few hiccups, Andrew's health is on the upswing.
"It's just awesome to see him being able to do things like his friends," Tristan said.
The Codners have learned to celebrate the wins, but this rollercoaster journey has been hard.
"It's like you have these hats and you put on your regular mom hat and then, you know, there's an appointment that needs done or you worry," Tristan said through tears. "You just take the good times and enjoy them as much as we can."
Yet, they keep pushing to those moments, like crossing the finish line of the Akron Marathon, something Kolt and Tristan have done the past few years, while raising nearly $40,000 for pediatric cancer research.
"Running has been an amazing relief for that. And then being able to tie that to raising funds for the hospital that has had such a phenomenal impact on our lives, the care that they provided to Andrew and the other kids we've gotten to know, has just been amazing," Kolt said.
This year, Andrew's parents are running again. This race will be different. It falls one week after he finishes his cancer treatment.
"Being able to cross that finish line with him when he rings the bell and, you know, cross that finish line at the marathon and doing that with Tristan, you know, really celebrate all we've been through together in the last 30 plus months... I couldn't think of a more meaningful thing," Kolt said.
And for Andrew? He has big plans after treatment ends.
"I wasn't able to swim in lakes. When my (cancer port) is out, I'm just gonna go straight to lake and just like swim in it!" Andrew said.
He'll be swimming and smiling and inspiring. At 6, Andrew Codner is a seasoned pro.
"It's just been wonderful to see him grow up to be this, you know, brave and funky, funny little boy ... first grader," Tristan said.
To help the Codner's raise money for Akron Children's, click HERE.
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