Unbreakable Courage at 13
At age 13, most kids are happy to make it through their first year of middle school. Chad Jones was thankful just to be alive. While his friends and classmates were consumed with sports, schoolwork and puppy love, Chad’s days were filled with tests, radiation therapy and cancer scans.
Chad was diagnosed with stage 4 neuroblastoma at 11 years old. Neuroblastoma is a rare form of cancer that is most common among children, specifically children under two. The disease is characterized by extra cranial solid tumors that frequently originate in the adrenal glands. However, they can also develop in the neck, chest, abdomen or pelvis and it is common for the tumors to spread to other parts of the body before symptoms are present.
As an athletic kid participating in all sports – football, basketball, baseball – Chad’s parents didn’t think, too much of it when Chad began complaining about a pain in his hip. They thought it must be growing pains or possibly a pulled muscle. But the pain continued.
“Because Chad is not the type of kid to complain… when he started crying from the pain, we figured that something else was really going on,” said Chad, Sr., Chad’s father.
After undergoing numerous tests, Chad was diagnosed as stage 4 and categorized as “high-risk” meaning the tumors had spread to other organs in the body. In order to treat a stage 4 high-risk patient, it often requires intensive chemotherapy, surgery, radiation therapy, bone marrow or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
With a spirit of indestructible courage, Chad has made it to his 13th birthday. His perseverance and courage is what inspires us at The V Foundation for Cancer Research to continue in our battle to end cancer.
“I feel it’s important to donate to cancer research because nobody likes cancer,” said Chad. “Nobody wants to deal with cancer, especially young children. I mean, that was the hardest part for me, to see young children walking around… If people donate, it could prevent people from even getting cancer… I think that would be best for everybody.”
This post was written by Maggie Glanton, Communications Intern.