Three-Year-Old Boy Fighting Tumor Inspires Others In This Game O - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Three-Year-Old Boy Fighting Tumor Inspires Others In This Game Of Life

SPOKANE VALLEY, Wash – Little Tito Tinajero, 3, loves the board game called "Life," but life isn't always easy.

"He was born perfectly normal," his mother Lace Tinajero told KHQ.  "Then I had him on the changing table at 7 weeks and noticed he had some brown patching on his skin."

It was the first sign that something wasn't right, but it would take 7 months for the family to get a diagnosis.  Their little son has a condition called Neurofibromatosis Type 1, or NF1, which has caused a tumor to grow behind his left eye.

"In my head I thought, ‘Not my son.  My son can't have something that extreme,'" Lace added.  "I have a hard time thinking of my son as always sick, or always one foot in the grave."

His first surgery lasted 7 hours, and came near little Tito's 1st birthday. 

"He was my hero," his father, Tito, said.  "He was so joyous that three days after the surgery he was playing peek a boo."

His joy is still there, despite the fact he's now endured 8 or 9 surgeries – all before his 4th birthday.

Then a family friend nominated Tito for "Make A Wish," an organization that helps make dreams come true for kids facing life-altering illness.

A nomination that was scary for the Tinajero family.

"There's always a sense of [it being] terminal, and how do we answer that?  Because we want our son forever," his father added.  "And they assured us, it's about making Tito happy."

Now, his wish is coming true.  In two weeks, the family is leaving for a DreamWorks Caribbean cruise with some of Tito's favorite movie characters; a little break from the tough realities dealt in this game of life.

To help kids like Tito, call in to our KHQ Connect Center this Thursday.  We'll be collecting unused airline miles from Alaska, Delta, United, and US Airways.  You can also donate money if you prefer.  The connect center will be running all day, beginning on KHQ Local News Today, and running through out 6pm newscast.

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