Meet St. Jude patient Ian
Ian, at age 6, brain tumor
There was something Ian’s mom didn’t want to confide to anyone. Even though the secret troubled her, she didn’t mention it. To mention it might make it come true.
One night, after her son had fallen asleep next to her in bed, he woke up suddenly and hugged her tightly. “What happened?” she asked.
Ian replied, “Mom, you know what? God just came to me, and He told me that I have to go. It’s time for me to go to heaven.”
She told him, “No, only old people go to heaven.”
“No, there are lots of kids who go, too,” said Ian.
Ian’s mom dreaded to think what could have caused her child to say such a disturbing thing. Ian was a happy, intelligent, active boy. True, he had been losing his balance and falling a lot, but his parents thought it was because he was too busy playing to pay proper attention. The doctor suspected the cause was flat feet.
But now Ian’s mother felt that something was very wrong and pushed for Ian to receive an MRI. The scan revealed Ian suffered from a brain tumor. The doctors said he had between six months and two years to live. Ian was just 5 years old.
Four days later, Ian underwent surgery near the family’s home in Mexico, during which most of the tumor was removed. Afterward, he was in a coma for 19 days.
While her son lay unresponsive in the hospital, Ian’s mother struggled with questions that had no answers. “Why me? Why him? Why my child?” she thought as she kept vigil by his bed.
Although Ian and his parents lived in Mexico, his great-aunt lived in the United States and donated money to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. She called Ian’s mom and told her about St. Jude. “This place treats children from all over the world,” she said.
Ian was brought to St. Jude, and suddenly there was hope. St. Jude has the largest pediatric brain tumor research program in the country and the world’s best survival rates.
At St. Jude, Ian’s doctor determined the tumor to be a type known as medulloblastoma. “It gave me peace of mind to know Ian’s oncologist is a pediatric neurologist who specializes in medulloblastoma,” says Ian’s mom. The tumor was attacked with radiation therapy and chemotherapy.
Ian’s family uprooted their lives and moved thousands of miles from home to bring Ian to St. Jude for the lifesaving treatment he needed. One thing they didn’t have to worry about was how to pay for it.
“We’re thankful that no family ever receives a bill from St. Jude,” says Ian’s mom. “We haven’t paid one penny for anything. It’s been the best help we can ever have. It’s a blessing we don’t have to think about money, and we’re still getting the best treatment.”
Ian has recently finished treatment and is doing well. “My child is very brave,” says Ian’s mom with pride. “He’s an example to us all.”