Dear Mark and The River Listeners,
I would like to tell you and your listeners about a very special young man named Jaden. Jaden is a quiet 11-year-old who is currently battling T-cell leukemia, a high risk childhood cancer.
Jaden's life changed this past March when he went to see his pediatrician for a cough and was rushed to the emergency room for difficulty breathing. An X-ray revealed a large tumor in Jaden's chest. He was urgently admitted to pediatric intensive care and evaluated by surgeons and oncologists. There, he would endure multiple sticks, a chest tube, and learn the devastating news that he had cancer.
Treatment began immediately and he was given life-saving chemotherapy. The medicine to fight his cancer left him weak and he has lost his hair. He has been admitted several times to the hospital for fevers, infections and blood transfusions. Jaden has been unable to attend school. Cancer has made spending time with his friends difficult and he has missed watching his older brother play football.
Life has been challenging for this family. Because of the frequent trips to the hospital and clinic, Jaden's only caregiver, his mom, lost her job. His brother feels the impact as well. It has been difficult watching his little brother go through so much. Despite everything, his family remains positive and optimistic, With Christmas approaching, mom is worried about providing some holiday cheer for her sons.
Jaden loves playing video games and is hoping for a new X Box One Controller. He is also very close to his dog, Chewy, and wants to surprise him with a new toy. Jaden's favorite stores are GameStop, Pet Supermarket, and Hibbett Sports. He loves spicy food. His brother could use a new laptop for school. Mom asks nothing for herself, but I know gift cards for gas, expenses and maybe a family dinner out would be welcomed.
Mark, I would like to end this letter with some words from Jaden. Jaden would like to say, "My first Christmas wish would be that no child would ever have to go through cancer treatment. Always be grateful and thank you for listening to my journey. Merry Christmas."
With sincere thanks,
Theresa Ryan R.N.
Dwayne & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah
at Memorial University Medical Center
Photo: Getty Images