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Texas Family Learns 6-Year-Old's Growth Spurt Caused By Tumor

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NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) -  At 6-years-old, Bryce Aswell towers over his kindergarten classmates -- and eats like a teenage boy!

"He's 4'7", almost 90 pounds. We just thought it was the genes of her family," dad Bradley Aswell said pointing to his wife, Amanda. "I just thought he was a 'big boy.'"

But, two months ago the couple learned what was really behind Bryce's growth spurt: a brain tumor. "And she broke down," recalls Bradley as he talked about the phone call that for has turned their lives upside down.

The optic pathway glioma, as it's called, is inoperable. The good news is that most often the tumors are benign — still, often is not always.

"They did tell us though," says Amanda with a heavyhearted pause, "if it is malignant, if it is fast growing… there is nothing they can do."

And with that daunting, devastating thought, Bryce's mom allows the tears to win—but, only for a moment. "But, I don't believe that," she quickly adds, "we will go wherever we have to go."

The biopsy is scheduled for next week.

Bradley said, "We've explained to him what they're going to do for the biopsy. He's like, `it's okay…I'm not going to feel it right?' No, buddy, you're going to be asleep. 'Okay.' He's like nonchalant! That's what I base my strength on."

Bryce is in no pain, but the tumor is impacting his vision and at 6-years-old, has sent him into early puberty as it engulfs his pituitary gland.

A 15-month course of chemotherapy is planned to hopefully shrink the tumor until Bryce is old enough to undergo radiation treatments.

The Aswells, who are also raising a young niece and nephew, say the ordeal has brought them closer to God and each other.

"He says 'mommy why are you crying?' And I say, 'Bryce, I just love you so much sometimes it just spills out.' And he just laughs."

The Aswells are asking only for prayers. But, family and friends are preparing meals and have also established a GoFundMe account to help raise money for the little boy's treatment.

"We're only human," says Amanda, "we have fears. But, it's gonna be okay. It'll be alright.

The Aswells plan to have a team walking with a local non-profit called Colsen's F.R.O.G. (Fully Relying On God) to raise money for pediatric cancer.  The 5th Annual Walk By Faith is scheduled for April 25 at Lake Worth Park.  The event starts at 8:30 a.m. with vendors, music, and fun for the entire family.  The non-profit was started by a family whose 2-year-old survived a brush with cancer, and that, they say, gives them hope.

(©2015 CBS Local Media, a division of CBS Radio Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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