FARGO, N.D. (Valley News Live) As the Bison prepare for the FCS Championship game in Frisco -- one of the team's youngest fans is preparing for the fight of his life in West Fargo.
10-year-old Landon Solberg is a die-hard NDSU fan who is in need of support from the Bison faithful to help him beat the odds that are stacked against him.
It appears the Strength of the Herd is behind Landon.
The Bison football team sent Landon a special video message. In it both Darrius Shepherd and Nick DeLuca sent well wishes.
Darrius Shepherd said, "We wanted to put a message together to tell you we are thinking of you. You're on our team and we all know how tough Bison are."
Landon said the message made him feel really good.
Landon's parents say the support from Bison Nation has been a great outlet for Landon.
While Landon looks healthy, doctors found swelling and fluid around his brain after he complained of severe headaches. A shunt was put in to relieve pressure.
Doctors in Fargo believe Landon has an aggressive brain tumor. Doctors at the Mayo Clinic agree. Both say there is a small chance it is something else--a small chance.
But for now... the Solbergs have to wait. The swelling needs to go down, so doctors can do a biopsy. Then they'll know for sure.
Andrea Solberg says they had very "dark" conversations about what doctors say Landon's future may hold. She says the prognosis doesn't look good.
Andrea posted on the CaringBridge page that a pediatric neuro-oncologist and the team of tumor specialists met to discuss Landon’s case in more detail.
She says the team came to a consensus there is a 75-80% chance they are dealing with a midline glioma. Midline gliomas are typically difficult to treat with radiation and chemotherapy and have a poor prognosis (1-2 years).
Andrea says, "It’s hard to even describe the painful feeling that overcomes my body when hearing statistics such as this. It makes it difficult to even catch your breath."
However, they did speak with a pediatric oncologist about different chemotherapy and radiation treatments available for pediatric patients with brain tumors.
She says the conversation definitely sparked some feelings of apprehension.
She says, "we are trying to not worry about it too much right now as we recognize we are getting a bit ahead of ourselves."
Andrea says she hasn't accepted the news just yet. She added, "I don't think at any time I can tell Landon or my other two children the statistics... statistics are wrong everyday... and miracles happen every day. And, that's the mindset he has and I don't want to change that."
Travis Solberg is Landon's dad. He says, "I am not naive. I know our time comes at some point for everyone. It is just when you are looking at a ten year old ... you don't think it is going to be anytime soon."
The Solbergs have a little extra muscle in this fight... thanks to NDSU player Nick Deluca.
In the video message from the NDSU players, Deluca said, "We just want you to know that as tough as we are. We think you are even tougher."
Travis reacted with, "If Nick DeLuca says you are tough... you are tough. It is some good motivation... for Landon and us as a parents."
The waiting game has been made a bit easier by other Bison student-athletes as well. Landon has been invited to both NDSU Basketball and Football practices.
And, it clearly is very good good medicine for this 4th grader. He can't talk about the experiences without smiling.
The Solbergs go back to Mayo January 15th. Once the swelling in his brain is down, doctors hope to get a biopsy to confirm their diagnosis.
Until then, the shunt will stay in and Landon is able to go to school, but not take part in any contact sports.
You can follow Landon's story though his CaringBridge page. There is also a GoFundMe page set up to help offset medical expenses.