6-Year-Old Boy Battling Terminal Cancer Becomes a Paleontologist, Thanks to Local Scientists

Riley Voss, 6, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive brain cancer, and may not live long enough to realize his dream of studying dinosaurs.

A 6-year-old North Carolina boy fulfilled his dream of becoming a paleontologist amid his battle with terminal cancer.

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Riley Voss, 6, of Raleigh, was invited by scientists at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Science to learn more about dinosaurs and fossils in their lab.

“He was so excited, especially when they let him do real paleontology work,” his mom, Ashley Voss, told InsideEdition.com. “You can see his face light up. He felt like by the end of the day he was an actual, real paleontologist. It was a dream come true for him.”

Voss explained her son’s obsession with dinosaurs started several months ago. Since then, he spends his days pretending to lecture a class about the dinosaurs while wearing a paleontologist costume, or working on research projects in his at-home "laboratory."

Unfortunately, Riley may never have the chance to fulfill that dream.

In November, 2016, he was diagnosed with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, an extremely rare and aggressive brain cancer that typically affects young children. The cancer is usually fatal.

“It just feels like a little piece of your heart is being ripped out all of the time,” Voss said. “I know life isn’t fair but this is just beyond the normal of fairness that should exist.”

Most children only live 9 months after diagnosis, his mom explained, and radiation is helping shrink the tumor and buy time on his life, but treatments will not cure the cancer.

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She explained that instead of focusing on the doctors’ appointments and upcoming radiation treatment, the family tries to make every day special for their dinosaur-loving son.

"Certainly the past few months have been really hard on him," Voss said. "We’re making the best out of our horrible situation."

To donate to the family's hospital bills, visit their website.

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