WEBER COUNTY

Utah junior high student diagnosed with brain cancer finds joy in track and field

May 26, 2024, 6:00 AM

Alden Peterson, of Eden, competes in the long jump at the district championships at Bonneville Jr. ...

Alden Peterson, of Eden, competes in the long jump at the district championships at Bonneville Jr. High on May 2. (Britta Peterson)

(Britta Peterson)

EDEN, Weber County — When Britta Peterson watched her 16-year-old son Alden compete at the district track-and-field finals on May 2, she felt a sense of pride and gratitude for what she was experiencing. After all, seeing her son excel in athletics wasn’t even a consideration nearly three years ago when Alden was diagnosed with brain cancer.

Alden, who in August 2021 was a seventh grader at Snowcrest Jr. High, had a persistent headache and was showing signs of neurological decline. After a CT scan, it was discovered he had a large mass on his brain — a rare malignant tumor, called anaplastic astrocytoma.

Due to the aggressiveness of the cancer, Alden had his first surgery within 24 hours of his diagnosis. That turned into another surgery and then another. Peterson recalls those early days being full of unknowns.

Alden Peterson pictured at the hospital while being treated for brain cancer. (Photo: Britta Peterson)

“By the time we got the diagnosis, it was 2 a.m. on a Monday, and slightly over 24 hours later, he was in surgery and they did two surgeries almost a week apart,” Peterson recalled. “They got most of the tumor out and then they had to let some of the swelling recede and do another MRI to see the status of it.”

Read the full story and more from Arianne Brown on KSL.com.

Related: Sports psychologist explains an Olympic athlete’s feelings of grief

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Utah junior high student diagnosed with brain cancer finds joy in track and field