In February 2015, after feeling sick for a few days, a large mass was found in the abdomen of our son, Jake. It was determined the mass was neuroblastoma. Neuroblastoma is a pediatric cancer usually found in very young children. Jake was 18 years old. He was sent to the St. Jude affiliate in Peoria, at OSF St. Francis Hospital. A ten-pound, football-sized tumor was removed from his abdomen, and Jake’s journey with St. Jude and his cancer battle began.
After surgery, Jake went through proton radiation and there was no further sign of cancer. He regained his strength and graduated high school in May 2015, went back to playing baseball, and started college in August 2015. In January 2016, when Jake had some follow-up tests and scans, neuroblastoma was back. This time it was in his spine and pelvic areas. Jake withdrew from college and began an extremely difficult course of treatment.
Treatment included many rounds of chemotherapy, two stem cell transplants, more proton radiation, and immunotherapy. These treatments took an extreme toll on his body. Jake went through lots of physical therapy and occupational therapy to be able to walk again and do everyday tasks.
In January 2018, Jake was able to return to college and graduated in December 2021. He is currently teaching at Normal Community High School. June 2023 marked six years in remission for Jake! He continues to see St. Jude doctors on a yearly basis for survivorship care.
We are so grateful for all the doctors, nurses, and staff at St. Jude! The ongoing research that St. Jude hospital provides saved Jake’s life and the lives of many children. The support and fundraising that is provided by so many people allows families to take care of their children and not have to worry about paying for the cost of treatment, travel, and housing. On behalf of our family and other St. Jude families, THANK YOU for the support!
Let’s cure childhood cancer. Together.