Boy Battling Leukemia Makes Friends With Bear

It's not everyday that Flamingo Gardens in Davie rolls out the red carpet for someone to come face to face with Josh the bear. But 4-year-old Ayden is not just anyone. He's the recipient of the Kids Wish Network and was granted a private tour of the botanical gardens and Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary. (Published Thursday, May 26, 2016)

It's not everyday that Flamingo Gardens in Davie rolls out the red carpet for someone to come face to face with Josh the bear.

But 4-year-old Ayden is not just anyone. He's the recipient of the Kids Wish Network and was granted a private tour of the botanical gardens and Everglades Wildlife Sanctuary.

Four years ago Jonathan and Margaret Ann Hopper of Georgia were blessed with the birth of their first and only child Ayden. But after experiencing great joy, they realized challenges would soon follow.

"We found out that he had Down Syndrome and when he was just two weeks old he was diagnosed with leukemia," Margaret Ann Hopper said.

But Ayden is a fighter and right now he's not showing any signs of the life-threatening blood disease. How can that be?

"They don't really know, there's a type of leukemia that's unique only to newborns with Down Syndrome and it's transient and they don't know why," his mother said.

So for now, they continue to count their blessings, with Ayden sharing in some special moments with his new furry friends.

Ayden's first time coming to Florida was made more special thanks to meeting Josh the bear. He even got a chance to feed him.

"We just love him, he's our miracle and we're just so thankful for him," Margaret Ann said.