OSAWATOMIE, Kan. — A 10-year-old boy is grateful to be out of the hospital and spending Christmas with his family at home. Jaeden Joy has been battling an aggressive form of cancer the past couple months.
When his hometown learned he’d be home for the holidays, they pulled out all the stops.
Fire trucks and police lights flashing and rolling went down the streets of Osawatomie on Sunday. But there was no emergency; this was a homecoming parade for the boy in the fight of his life.
“It was astounding,” said father Ronnie Joy.
Back in October, Jaeden was having tummy troubles. His family took him to the pediatrician, who didn’t think it was anything serious.
But a couple days later, after spending the afternoon with his siblings and grandma, something strange happened.
“He was like pale white or grayish,” said Ronnie Joy.
He ultimately ended up in the emergency room at Children’s Mercy Hospital, and a series of tests brought unthinkable news.
“Your son has cancer. That hit me hard. I didn’t know how to take it,” the dad said.
The diagnosis: an aggressive form of stage-three Burkitt’s lymphoma.
“They did another ultrasound nine hours later and it had doubled in size,” Joy said.
Chemotherapy started immediately. Jaeden would spend the next two and a half months largely glued to a hospital bed.
“It seemed like it was a losing battle,” said Joy.
He had to take leave from his job, and his wife is still working and taking care of their other two kids, 7-year-old Isabella and 5-year-old Jayson. But as stunned as the family is to be facing a cancer fight, they’ve been equally blown away by the community’s outpouring of support.
“It’s meant more than I can express in words. It helped alleviate a lot of the stress,” said Joy.
Not only did Jaeden get the royal treatment on his trip home from the hospital, volunteers and local businesses did a complete overhaul of the family’s home.
There is new paint, flooring, decking, furniture, and a Chiefs kingdom bedroom for Jaeden. The community also provided Christmas gifts for all three kids.
“It’s great to see how much people help other people,” said Jaeden.
The support is providing strength and joy in the fight ahead.
“I’m pretty sure he`s gonna beat it,” said Jaeden’s sister, Isabella.
Little Isabella’s also learning a valuable lesson on the true meaning of the holiday season.
“Christmas ain’t really about presents… it’s about Jesus’ birthday and it’s also about giving and family and friends,” she said.
Jaeden goes back for another round of chemo in January.
If you’d like to help the family, donations are being accepted by the Vineyard of Hope Church in Osawatomie.