SPIRIT TO SOARE WITH SPACE SHUTTLE DISCOVERY!
Parents of the late Aaron Robert
Hultman of Chicago, who died in
September of 2004, from adrenoleukodystrophy (ALD-made known by
the movie "Lorenzo's Oil"), are thrilled to announce today that their son’s dream to become an astronaut will be honored this month with NASA’s
scheduled launch of Discovery’s STS-120 mission, to deliver the Harmony module to the International Space Station.
Aaron’s parents, Gary & Florence Hultman were surprised to learn via call from astronaut Dan Tani (who
had corresponded with Aaron during his 10-month
battle), of his plan to carry on-board with him, a photo and a lock of Aaron’s hair he had received from Florence after
Aaron lost his courageous fight against the often deadly disease many boys face. The Hultman’s will be traveling to
the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, as VIP guests to watch the launch scheduled
on October 23, 2007 with lift-off at 11:38am.
none of the usual, early developmental symptoms associated with ALD, which normally allows for a more timely diagnosis. So, when Aaron (then age 8) suffered a seizure during gym class at Norwood Park School
was rushed to the hospital where an MRI showed how far the disease had already advanced.
ALD is a rare, genetic disorder, affecting only boys, is characterized
by the breakdown or loss of the myelin sheath surrounding nerve cells in the brain, and progressive dysfunction of the
adrenal gland. There are several forms of ALD, but onset of the classic, most severe, usually occurs before age 10. Many of
these boys will become totally disabled in 6 months to 2 years, and will die sometime thereafter. The only known treatment which halts further progression, is a stem cell
or bone marrow transplant. Aaron’s was on February 5, 2004 at the University of Minnesota, while his family was supported by many family, friends and business’, and
several fundraisers during their 5 month stay at the Ronald McDonald House in Minneapolis.
Aaron’s dream of becoming
an astronaut began at an early age. At 3, Aaron could
name all of the planets in order, and he hoped to be the first man on mars. “Wherever we went he had to be first in line. I would have to walk him to school (across the street)
a half hour early” said his mother.
He was a remarkable young man, with many achievements. He won The
Young Authors Award, 2 years in a row for his
books, “Aviation Space & Me”, and “Voyagers
to the Stars”, as well as serving on the student council. His design, one of hundreds, of a dragster was chosen and
featured in Lego™ Magazine. Also an accomplished swimmer having swam freestyle across a 500 yard lake, and had just
achieved his first level black belt in, Tae Kwon Do. He assisted his father customizing a Space Suit for halloween so
his voice could be heard outside of the helmet, and also included a fan for suit ventilation. After his diagnosis, he had
a meeting with his biggest space hero, Commander James Lovell, of Apollo 13, and flew to Mars at Disney’s Epcot, Mission: SPACE, flight
simulator, a trip sponsored by the Chicago Chapter of the Make A Wish Foundation. He also authored his final book, “A
Book of Jokes”. As his vision and hearing failed he said, “Since I can’t play with toys, I have to play
with words.” His parents plan to have this published.
Aaron, who was November’s student of the month in his first
grade class, was asked for a quote for the event
by his teacher, he stated; “Courage is doing something
that is not easy. Admitting when you are wrong shows courage”. A very missed remarkable young man indeed.