Nathan Andrew Waggoner – Cristian Rivera Foundation
Nathan Andrew Waggoner
Date of Birth: August 18, 1992
Date of Diagnosis: May 8, 2008
Earned His Wings: March 19, 2010

Nate was such an active kid. He loved being outside, played many sports, and spent most of his free time fishing at the family cabin along the Missouri river.

On May 8th, 2008 at 15 years old, everything changed.   After complaining of “funny head pains”, an MRI confirmed Nate had a Diffused Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG).  This is a non-operative tumor in the brain stem.

DIPG being a rare brain tumor, not many options were available.  Nate started six weeks of radiation and also took a chemo pill. The tumor did shrink, relieving his symptoms. This lasted for about five months, then balance issue started to show up. On October 31, 2008 a port was put in and a new chemo was started. Periodic rounds of steroids were also given. The new chemo routine helped Nate live pretty much symptom free for the next 10 months. He even obtained his driver license on his 16th birthday.

Later that fall, symptoms returned and at an alarming pace. Nate was experiencing numbness in his feet and his speech started to slur.  Nathan slowly lost his walking ability, then his hands, then his speech, and eventually it started affecting his breathing. All this happened while his cognitive thinking was normal, which for Nate and his family, was the worst part. 

Without any other chemo options, the next step was a clinical trial in Chicago. Weekly commutes started for the clinical trial. This new treatment was no help and the tumor kept progressing. After eight weeks the clinical trial was stopped. Nate passed away five weeks later, on March19th, 2010. He fought a long and hard battle for 22 months.

“He is such a fighter and he just fought.  He was always smiling,” said Monica Waggoner, Nathan’s mom.

Read more about Nathan’s story here: