St. Jude patients (left to right) Ty, Alex and Mythias, Hodgkin lymphoma

A forever friendship

Many friendships are made and cemented during the college experience, but Alex, Mythias and Ty didn’t meet in the dorms or Intro to Philosophy. Instead, they met at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

Last fall, Alex was a college freshman in Kentucky when her swollen lymph nodes indicated a serious problem. Mythias, too, started his freshman year of college in Arkansas, and noticed swelling in his lymph nodes. Also in Arkansas, Ty was returning for his sophomore year; shoulder pain was his signal there could be something wrong.

With lots of firsts on the horizon, no one quite anticipated what came next. Each of these young adults received a diagnosis of Hodgkin lymphoma, a lymph system cancer, and put their academic plans on hold to begin trips to St. Jude.

 

Shortly after arriving at St. Jude, Mythias, Alex and Ty met, becoming fast friends for the journey ahead. They underwent six months of chemotherapy and offered one another support through conversation, texting and Snapchat. “When one of us was down, the others would lift us up,” Alex said. “We encouraged each other, because we knew what we were going through.”

Fortunately, families at St. Jude never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live. “It makes us feel like less of a burden, since there’s no way we could just pay for this,” Mythias said. “If St. Jude didn’t cover the cost, we’d be paying the medical bills for the rest of our lives.”

When Mythias recently celebrated the end of treatment with a No More Chemo party, Alex and Ty were there. Alex and Ty had their own end-of-treatment celebrations shortly after.

Mythias, Alex and Ty at St. Jude

St. Jude patients and close friends (left to right) Mythias , Alex and Ty pose with a St. Jude employee (front) at St. Jude in 2017.

It doesn’t feel like we’re in a hospital at St. Jude. They make us feel comfortable. The first two cycles of my treatment, I didn’t know anybody, and I was kind of down on myself. But after I started meeting people, I was almost looking forward to getting back to St. Jude to see everybody else.

St. Jude patient Ty

 

Throughout treatment, Alex has been taking online classes and will continue her studies in entrepreneurship and marketing. Ty and Mythias are both rethinking their career aspirations because of their experiences at St. Jude: Mythias is now interested in music therapy, and Ty would like to become a nurse. They’ll all return for regular checkups at St. Jude.

“There aren’t really words to thank the St. Jude supporters enough,” Ty said. “You’re helping to save millions of lives."

Help our families focus on their sick child, not medical bills.

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