Little boy fighting for his life, inspiring others after diagnosis of inoperable brain tumor

Richard Culliver, 7, is battling brain cancer. (WRDW-TV)
Richard Culliver, 7, is battling brain cancer. (WRDW-TV)

News 12 at 6 o'clock / Tuesday, Oct. 23, 2012

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Just two and a half weeks ago, Richard Culliver was diagnosed with a rare and inoperable brain tumor.

Even though he's only 7 years old, his parents say he has wisdom far beyond his years.

“Thank you for everything you've done for us," prayed 7-year-old Richard, even though he was just diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor.

“Out of the blue he'll surprise you with a grown man prayer," mother Stephanie McMillan said. "It seems when we're at our weakest, it's like he senses that and he'll say the things that we need to hear."

It all started when Richard tripped and fell, usually a normal thing for a little boy.

"He couldn't stay on his feet. He kept stumbling and he fell twice," McMillan said.

His parents thought, at most, he had a concussion.

So, when they took him to the doctor, they never expected to hear that their little boy has a tumor the size of a tennis ball in his brain and less than a year to live.

"It's horrible. It's the worst thing you can imagine, worst pain you can imagine having. To this day, sometimes it still seems unreal," father Brian Culliver said.

"A brain boo boo got on my brain," Richard said.

Even through this tragedy, his parents are still finding some good.

"God's using him to reach people. I think that's kind of his purpose in life," McMillan said.

He's even reached as far as his favorite team's quarterback, the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger.

He's been featured on Roethlisberger's Web page, and the quarterback even promised to send Richard the game ball from this past Sunday's game.

In the post-game interview Roethlisberger said, “There’s a little boy that doesn’t have long to live that has been on my website and has been checking in … and I want to send that to him.”

"During the hardest time in our lives, we've had nothing but love around us," McMillan said.

As the family takes advantage of every moment together, Richard knows how much he's loved.

"To the moon and back," he said.

"He's God's child. We just got to borrow him for a while," McMillan said through teary eyes.

Richard's parents aren't working right now so they can take care of their son full time.

They are holding a fundraiser walk on Nov. 17 at the YMCA to raise money for all his medical expenses. His parents hope to make it an annual event to raise awareness for brain cancer.

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