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Meet Donovan


age 6, brain cancer


For a month, Donovan’s neck pain, earaches and vomiting had his mom searching in vain for answers from local doctors. Then one day, while watching cartoons, Donovan reported seeing his favorite character in two places at the same time: double vision. His mom, Harley, took Donovan to the emergency room, where a CT scan revealed a tumor. The little boy had brain cancer.

“I knew there was a problem, but I never imagined it to be this,” said Harley. “I knew that kids got cancer, but I never would have thought, you know … everybody thinks it’s rare until it’s you.”

St. Jude patient Donovan

After emergency surgery to remove as much of the tumor as possible, the family took the advice of the surgeon and came to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.

St. Jude has made important advances in diagnosing and treating Donovan's type of brain cancer, medulloblastoma. Additionally, St. Jude is home to the first proton therapy center in the world dedicated solely to children with cancer.

St. Jude patient Donovan

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St. Jude patient Donovan with his family

St. Jude patient Donovan with his mom, Harley (right), grandmother and great-grandmother

At St. Jude, Donovan received proton therapy and chemotherapy. These procedures came at no out-of-pocket cost to his family. This is because, thanks to the generosity of donors, families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.

Donovan completed treatment in December 2017, just in time to be home for Christmas. He has now celebrated a second Christmas cancer free. He’s in school and has a lot of friends.

“He’s shy at first, but when he gets to know you, he just opens right up,” said his mom.

In fact, his favorite thing about school is “getting to share with his friends,” and he prefers riding the bus with them to having his mom take him to school.

St. Jude patient Donovan in a blue shirt sitting

Donovan has celebrated over a year of being cancer free after undergoing treatment for medulloblastoma, a type of brain cancer.

Donovan travels to St. Jude every three months for checkups, but soon that will change to visiting every six months – a post-treatment milestone.

“We’re getting there,” said his mom. “We’re excited. Not that we don’t love coming to St. Jude — it’s truly amazing — but spending time with family and friends is the most important thing.”


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

When you donate monthly, your gift means families, like Donovan's, never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.

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