Stories of kids beating cancer remind all of us of how fragile life is and how incredibly brave children can be. I recently noticed a friend of mine sharing photos on Facebook of a boy she knew who had battled cancer. The photos had the caption “No More Chemo!”. Here’s the story of Josh, a survivor, and his amazing family members who remained positive and did all they could to be his advocate and fight alongside him.
Josh is your average kid. He’s the second of 4 boys. He enjoys the outdoors and likes playing baseball, football, and basketball. On rainy days, Josh builds with his Legos and reads books. But on November 24, 2010, Josh’s parents received the type of news no parent ever wants to hear. Josh, then 7-years old, was diagnosed with low-risk pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia. He immediately began chemotherapy but did unfortunately not respond as well as expected, so he was reclassified as high-risk in December 2010. This required a more aggressive form of treatment, overnight stays in the hospital, and homebound schooling.
According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (2014), “Leukemia is a type of cancer that affects the blood and bone marrow, the spongy center of bones where our blood cells are formed. The disease develops when blood cells produced in the bone marrow grow out of control.” Leukemia affects an estimated 12.8 of 10,000 individuals according to data collected in 2013.
Josh was treated for leukemia for one thousand one hundred and ninety-nine days. Throughout treatment, Josh remained upbeat and happy. He was shooting baskets while hooked up to medication. He played football immediately after receiving chemo. He never missed a game, even after his end-of-treatment spinal tap and bone marrow aspiration that hurt so badly he required morphine. Josh was standing in the dugout, holding on to the fence for support, cheering for his team. He missed school, birthday parties, and going to the movies – but what he gained was an appreciation for life, incredible strength, and the ability to find joy in the little things. March 7th, 2014 was Josh’s last chemotherapy treatment, and he celebrated with a No More Chemo party on March 29th, 2014. Josh is a Cancer Survivor!
Josh’s fundraising page to learn more about his story of survival and more stories about brave kids beating cancer. And a special thank you to Josh’s mother, Laura, for sharing her story and continuing to fight for more gentle treatments to improve the quality of life for other children diagnosed with cancer.