St. Jude patient Hudson pictured at age 2, brain tumor

Who's afraid of the big, bad wolf?

This little boy wasn't. But one day, when Hudson couldn't walk without grabbing for support, scans discovered the most wicked villain of them all.

 

Two-year-old Hudson loved dressing up for Halloween with his big sister, Harper. In 2016 , the kids were supposed to go as Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf — but it was so unseasonably hot, Hudson had to trade his fur for a superhero cape. Nevertheless, he had a ball chasing his sister around.

So just a week later, when Hudson couldn’t walk without grabbing for support, it was noticeable — and worrisome. His mother, a nurse, took him to the emergency room, and a scan showed a mass on the little boy’s brain.

Hudson underwent surgery at a local children’s hospital to drain the fluid building up on his brain. “When we heard it might be pineoblastoma, we wanted to come to St. Jude because we knew that was the best place,” said his mom, Kelley, at the time. “The diagnosis is pretty rare, and Hudson’s is more difficult to treat because of his age.” 

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has helped push the overall survival rate for childhood cancer from less than 20% when we first opened our doors to more than 80% today and is working to drive the overall survival rate for childhood cancer to 90%.

Hudson and his sister during Halloween

St. Jude patient Hudson (Superman) with his sister, Harper (Little Red Riding Hood).

 
 

St. Jude patient Hudson with his mom, Kelley.

At St. Jude, Hudson received his first dose of chemotherapy on Thanksgiving Day. His treatment also included surgery, radiation therapy and a host of supportive interventions like speech therapy and nutrition therapy. 

Kelley appreciated the multi-disciplinary approach. “He has a whole team that follows him constantly,” she said at the time. “They give you hope, even though you’re in the worst circumstance of your life. They don’t give up on your child.” 

Hudson during Halloween

Hudson wearing his Halloween costume in 2016.

This extraordinary care came at no cost. Families 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.

“It was like a nightmare when we first found out,” said Kelley at the time. “Being at St. Jude gives you a whole new perspective. You think of childhood cancer as rare until you get here. People everywhere are going through this.” 

At the time, scans would determine whether Hudson would spend Halloween at St. Jude or back at home. Harper selected their sibling costumes for Halloween: she was Beauty, and Hudson was the Beast. In real life, Hudson was anything but. 

“He’s just a good kid,” said his mom at the time. “He waves at everybody, has to smile at everybody. He’s happy all the time.”

Editor's note: We regret to inform you that Hudson passed away in April 2018.

 

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

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