Jacksonville, FL - Bryce Williams’ battle with cancer started when he was just 8-years-old.
“I fell off a chair and I hit my knee, and it hurt way more than it needed to. And that happens with a lot of cancer patients, they break a bone or sprain something, and it will start hurting way more than it needed to. Luckily, I didn't break anything, I just fell on the ground. But it really hurt, and we went to go to my regular doctor just to check it out. He touched it, and I screamed in pain,” he says.
Initially, he was diagnosed with a benign tumor.
“We didn't really exactly feel like we trusted it, and so we went to get a second opinion, and it was cancerous,” he says.
At such a young age, Bryce says he didn’t really grasp what was happening. He remembers a lot of sitting, a lot of waiting, and a lot of pain.
“You don’t really want to move, you just feel terrible, because they’re just pumping poison in your body,” he says.
And when he didn’t feel pain, he felt nothing.
“You don’t really feel anything. You just sit there, and you're so sick, you just don’t feel anything. It’s like a coma, but you’re awake,” Bryce says.
He leaned on faith and family to get through this time, especially when he learned he would have to have his leg amputated as part of his treatment.
"We sat down there and just told- him I know this sucks, you know this is horrible, and we love you,” says Bryce’s father, Shane.
But even with that, it took one more key player to keep him going- Ms. Joli.
“Burst through the door- ‘Oh hey, Bryce! How you doing? What’s up!’ Then she’ll hug me, and then we’ll start talking, and do some arts and crafts, go mess with me sister, stuff like that,” Bryce says.
He says Ms. Joli would always be there for him to talk to, and helped him somehow forget what was happening through everything.
“Happy, cheerful, amazing, super duper cool- any words that you would think of being cool is what Ms. Joli is,” he says.
Bryce is now 17-years-old, and has been post-treatment for six years. He enjoys playing soccer, swimming, and strumming on his ukulele. Despite what he has gone through, he says he’s optimistic about what the future holds.