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Brave North Texas 8-Year-Old Loses Battle With Cancer

(credit: KTVT/KTXA) Bud Gillett
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PLANO (CBS 11 NEWS) – An eight-year-old boy, whose lifelong struggle against a crippling illness, is being remembered as a child who never gave up. Landon Knight died Sunday after months of battling cancer.

Landon also fought a breathing and digestive disease called Haddad syndrome.   But the little boy wasn’t going to let a breathing tube keep him from living his life.  His mother, Brandy Costello, told CBS 11 News, “Nothing ever stopped him. Even his daily life, being trached [having a tracheotomy tube in the neck to breathe through]… the circuit, so what? He’d throw it out the side; run and jump and play… ride a bike.”

Then last August Landon was diagnosed with a Stage-4 cancer called Neuroblastoma. The diagnosis was an awful blow for a family already dealing with another son who has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and can communicate only by blinking.

Landon fearlessly faced chemotherapy, radiation, and multiple surgeries. His adoptive father Mark Costello told us, “It didn’t matter what the surgery was or what the doctor said. He was ready to get back to playing.”

Brandy agreed. “For so long it was always, ‘Stay strong, be brave, Mommy and Daddy are right here.’   And like I said, he bounced back from everything.”

Landon was able to bounce back until Saturday and his second trip to the emergency room that day. “As hard as it is, I can be grateful for, I guess, the way he left us,” Brandy said.

Sunday morning — when Landon was ready, according to Brandy — there was a final goodbye.  “He let us get to a point where we realized it was reality, you know what I mean?  When we told him everything that we wanted him to know — he let go.”

Today, things are bittersweet.  In the home there is the buzz of extended family, who have arrived to attend services. They collect a box full of Landon’s beloved monster trucks.   A second brother, Cullen, plays. The 3-year-old has yet to that Landon isn’t coming back from the doctor’s, even though his empty stroller has. Brandy gets flowers on her birthday and the Costello’s give thanks for an inspired life.

“He taught us a ton,” said Brandy.  “He definitely did, and he taught a lot of other people things, too, including some of his doctors.”

Mark Costello marvels at the outpouring of support given to his family.  “We couldn’t be more grateful for all the help and support we had… especially the past four to five months.  People from all over the world have helped us.  Thanks just doesn’t get it.”

A wake and service are planned for six o’clock Thursday night. The services will be held at the Ted Dickey West Funeral Home in Dallas.  A memorial celebration of Landon’s life will be held at Covenant Church in Carrollton. That celebration will be Friday from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m.

In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to any of the following:

Make-A-Wish North Texas
Give Kids the World (at Walt Disney World)
Woodland Outdoor Ministries (of Louisiana)
Families of Spinal Muscular Atrophy
Sophia’s Cure Foundation

(©2014 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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