JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Julie Kelly says she couldn’t even pronounce what her son was diagnosed with at first.
In April 2019, 3-year-old Jude was diagnosed with Langerhans cell histiocytosis, a cancer of a white blood cell in his immune system. It came when Jude had a swollen, red eye that didn’t improve.
After going to a few different specialists and getting an MRI, Julie said they found out a tumor was growing in his skull behind his eye.
Julie says Jude was very scared at first, but the staff at the Nemours Children’s Clinic in Jacksonville helped him ease his fears.
“It was very emotional… it was difficult, a lot of fear and anxiety, not understanding a lot about the disease and even among the medical community it’s not very well understood, so that was very scary for us, but we definitely felt supported by our team here at Nemours with all the information they had at their disposal,” Kelly said.
She adds that the staff kept Jude busy with toys and rewards throughout the treatment process. “He’s learned it’s not that scary… he’s a pro at it now and he’s not afraid to come, which is incredible.”
The Kelly family also says the Children’s Cancer Fund has given them both financial and emotional support while navigating Jude’s cancer diagnosis.
“There were times when we couldn’t pay our mortgage, and they supported us there, giving us gift cards for the groceries,” Kelly says. The organization also provided support through informational events and parent meetings.
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Today Jude enjoys playing with Hot Wheels and has a collection of over 430. “He’s adventurous, he’s funny and he’s very smart…I’m his mom, so I might be a little biased, but he’s a great boy,” Kelly said.
If you want to help kids like Jude, you can find more information on WOKV’s Careathon 2021 page here.
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