Six-year-old Leonard Gossen is surrounded by two of his favorite things: Legos and sea turtles.
During the day, he and his siblings Simon, Charlotte, Marion and James are home schooled by their mom, Jessica.
About a year ago Jessica and her husband Andy became concerned for Leonard because he started having headaches.
"I honestly thought he liked the new flavor of children's ibuprofen that they came out with so I thought for a while he was just making it up," Jessica said.
But when the headaches continued, Jessica took him to the doctor. Leonard passed a neurological exam and went home.
"A couple days after he passed that exam he started to walk almost like he was intoxicated," said Jessica. Her motherly instinct kicked in and she took him to the emergency room at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.
Within minutes doctors determined Leonard had a brain tumor. Surgeons removed it and found Medulloblastoma which is the most common cancerous brain tumor in kids.
"We were going on the internet. We were looking things up and it was just for the next few days it was just like a fog," said Andy.
Jessica added, "It felt like they were telling us that the radiation could potentially take away everything from him except his life, and I thought why are we doing this."
Several treatments in, Leonard has been fortunate to not have the worst side effects. He says he gets a little scared at the hospital, but he finds ways to occupy his time, "I do have an iPad I bring every time."
Leonard has bright turquoise glasses because he loves all things blue. Jessica likes them as well saying, "he loves them and they give him a lot of color so I love them too!"
It's the playful side of Leonard his parents love to see because, as Jessica says, he's grown up so much in the last year.
"His brother skinned his knee a couple months ago and he said, 'Wow, you fell down and you're hardly even bleeding. You must have a lot of platelets.' And then he went on to talk to him about what platelets do inside your body."
When Andy goes to work Jessica says she faces some of the biggest challenges with the children. "When things taste crummy because of chemo and he doesn't want to eat dinner how far do I let it go? Because everybody else is following suit."
Leonard's last treatment is scheduled for right after Christmas. Until then, he spends time playing with Legos and his turtle, Chase.
The Gossen family has spent a lot of time in the MACC Fund Center at Children's Hospital. The MACC Fund raises money to research pediatric cancers and related blood disorders.
All proceeds from the TODAY'S TMJ4 Sports Auction 4 MACC will go toward the MACC Fund. The auction is Friday, December 16th. It's from 3-5pm on TODAY'S TMJ4.
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