Imagine watching your 3-year-old child go from a normal healthy happy kid, who loves to dance and play to a bedridden sick 4-year-old who is unable to walk, and barely has enough energy to eat. Jeremiah’s battle began after a complaint to his mom about leg pain at the end of 2019. Mom fully recognizing that leg pain is an odd ailment for a child, proceeded to take him to the pediatrician. After multiple visits and a complete bone scan, it was discovered that Jeremiah would be in for the biggest fight of his short life. Neuroblastoma had settled into his little body.
Treatment began just three days after his diagnosis in March of 2020. It was estimated that Jeremiah would undergo about a year of chemotherapy, radiation, and stem cell transplants. By September, Jeremiah was responding well to chemotherapy, so his team of doctors moved forward with the first of two stem cell transplants. Jeremiah and his mother remained in Miami for about three months for these procedures, as it was imperative for him to stay close to his hospital post-transplants. Being away from home and family was tough on this young family. His father stayed local, working to support the family during the week, and traveled to Miami on the weekends to visit.
During his time in Miami, CAN was in the process of delivering our ‘Summer of Fun’ packages to our families and Jeremiah’s father was able to deliver the gifts to him in Miami. His mother was so wonderful, providing CAN with photos of his smiles, and the following words of thanks, “Good evening, we just received this wonderful package. It couldn’t be more perfect, it has EVERYTHING Jeremiah loves and more, including outdoor activities for the whole family. It means a lot to us, especially during these difficult times. We cannot thank you guys enough, we’re proud of being part of CAN.”
By the time December rolled around, Jeremiah was back home for the Holidays! CAN was so happy to hear that he was going to be a part of our Annual Holiday Party. He showed up at our drive-by/stop-by and won the hearts of all in attendance. Jeremiah had the biggest smile and the most charming personality. The, now 4-year-old, made sure to make friends with Santa and the firefighters that were present for the festivities. He was captured on camera just being himself, the life of the party.
CAN received wonderful news in mid-January when Mom reached out to tell us that Jeremiah is now officially in remission!!! He had six rounds of immunotherapy to complete his treatment, but overall doing great and regaining health and wellness. Little did anyone realize at the time, the harsh reality of immunotherapy. This treatment proved to be the hardest yet on his little body and essentially left him paralyzed and unable to walk. He was tired and struggling. All that he wanted to do was get stronger so he could walk and play outside again. Jeremiah was captured on film, conversing with local news anchor, Chris Cifatte, discussing his favorite food, broccoli, as it is necessary for him to eat to get better and stronger so that he could again move his legs.
Over the next few months, the family continued to stay in touch with CAN. We learned about his big wins and small setbacks. We cheered him on from the sidelines, sending messages and words of kindness and support. In August we learned that Jeremiah had completed all treatments and is now Cancer Free!! The CAN team was overjoyed to know that Jeremiah accepted our invitation to attend CAN’s annual Summer Respite at the Hyatt Coconut Point. What an awesome way to celebrate with him and his family; a weekend of family time, playing, dancing, and of course, butterflies and bubbles! This family needed the weekend to celebrate Jeremiah’s recovery as well as play with the other children that were invited. It was his dream come true!!
CAN is so grateful to have families like Jeremiah’s be part of our bigger family. It was our absolute pleasure to help Jeremiah’s family with car payments to ensure that their transportation needs were always met. Traveling to Miami as frequently as they did/do, we were happy to take that stress from their shoulders.
For nearly 20 years, generous support from our community has made it possible for CAN to help families like Jeremiah’s, and that assistance is critical to everything we do at Cancer Alliance of Naples.
Thanks to contributions from individuals who give so much, we have helped over 1,200 children and adults battling cancer in our local communities. For families on the verge of not being able to keep the lights on at home or pay necessary bills, CAN’s financial assistance is precious. It preserves human dignity and helps them focus on fighting their cancer battle with peace of mind. Facing a world of unknowns and being forced to make life-changing medical decisions, as well as dealing with mounting pressures of everyday living expenses, CAN helps, when there is nowhere else to turn.
You CAN help to support the journeys of so many of our neighbors by making a gift to Cancer Alliance of Naples today. Your gift will provide greatly needed resources to a local family or individual who is currently experiencing a cancer diagnosis.