JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Julie Kelly says at first she wasn’t even able to pronounce what her son was diagnosed with.
In April of 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 wasn’t improving.
After going to a few different specialists and getting an MRI, Julie says they learned that he had a tumor growing behind his eye in his skull.
Julie says at first Jude was very scared, but the staff at Nemours Children’s Clinic in Jacksonville helped ease his fears.
“It was very emotional... it was hard, a lot of fear and anxiety not understanding a whole lot about the disease and even amongst the medical community it’s not very well understood, so that was very scary for us, but we certainly felt supported by our team here at Nemours with all the information they had available,” Kelly said.
She adds that the staff kept Jude entertained with toys and rewards through the entire treatment process. “He was able to learn that it’s not so scary... he’s a pro at it now and he has no fear of coming anymore which is incredible.”
The Kelly family also says thanks to the Child Cancer Fund, they were provided with both financial and emotional support as they navigated Jude’s cancer diagnosis.
“There were times when we weren’t able to pay our mortgage, and they supported us there, they provided us with grocery gift cards,” Kelly says. The organization also offered support through informational events and parent meet up groups.
Today, Jude loves to play 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 kid,” Kelly said.
If you’re looking to help children like Jude, you can find more information on WOKV’s Careathon 2021 page here.
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