Cullen Oothoudt of Mandan had hardly turned three-years-old when his parents noticed that he had been stumbling and had also thrown up a few times. His parents took him to his pediatrician who did an exam and ordered a CT scan. While still in recovery, the family was told that they had to immediately go to Sanford in Fargo to have a large mass in Cully's brain removed. After a successful surgery, the biopsy results came back and the mass was identified as medulloblastoma, a malignant form of brain cancer. Cully received treatment including radiation and chemotherapy over the next ten months, but his cancer returned in September of 2016. The disease and his treatment robbed him of his ability to walk, but he never let it get him down. What his family misses the most is Cully’s ability to enjoy the simple things in life, like taking time to sit and work on a puzzle or play with Play-Doh. They also miss his constant chatter when in the vehicle or when working on a project. Cully loved to help his mom bake. He also enjoyed eating the baked goods. He was a true connoisseur of anything sweet.
Cully passed away on August 6, 2017, a month before his fifth birthday.
Having a child diagnosed with cancer and losing him was by far the most difficult thing the Oothoudt family has been through, but it also made them appreciate what is important. They say that after Cully was diagnosed, it’s very possible that he never heard the word no again. “We had Cully for less than five years, but in that short time, we tried to give him the world. He loved and knew what it was like to be truly loved,” says his mom, Randi Oothoudt.