Before Jace was even 2 years old, he had earned himself a nickname that doubled as a verb. “JaceFace” came to describe both the baby’s trademark ear-to-ear grin and the ability to keep smiling through all adversity.
Jace, even at his young age, has known adversity.
Jace’s problems began mounting around 6 months of age. He had severe curvature of the spine, loss of reflexes and was screaming all night in pain. Finally, after many frustrating attempts to learn the cause, Jace’s parents were told their son had a tumor in his spinal cord.
We don’t think he would have made it, had we not gotten here.
Later, after surgery at another hospital, they learned the tumor was cancerous, spanned 15 centimeters of his thoracic vertebrae and had killed the nerve impulses below it.
The family obtained a referral to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in March 2016. St. Jude doctors made a diagnosis of anaplastic astrocytoma. The tumor was located in the thoracic region and initiated a year of chemotherapy.
But Jace received much more than lifesaving treatment at St. Jude. He received supportive therapies, like physical, occupational and speech therapies, with an eye toward improving his outcome.
Jace and his sister, Joylynn, putting on a puppet show for their parents.
By October 2016, Jace was standing with help, “army crawling” across the floor and kicking his right leg.
“That,” said his mom, Jamie, “is a miracle of God and science.”
“We don’t think he would have made it, had we not gotten here,” said Jace’s dad, Jimmy.
“Or if he had, he would not have had the quality of life that St. Jude has allowed him to have, during or after treatment,” Jamie added.
Jace’s family never has to worry about how to pay for Jace’s treatment. 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.
Jace, who is famous at St. Jude for his smile, used sign language to ask for more bubbles. St. Jude taught Jace to sign and is helping him fight his way back from a large cancerous tumor in his spinal cord. Jace’s mom describes his progress as “a miracle of God and science."
“Granted, the world runs on money, but at St. Jude, you don’t feel like a dollar sign to the hospital — you feel like a person,” said Jamie. “You know they’re caring about your kid, and they’re caring about the best thing for them, not the end-of-the-day dollar sign.”
Today, Jace remains in remission. He’s still working on regaining movement and walking with the help of a walker. He returns to St. Jude every two months for checkups and is absolutely obsessed with superheroes. And, he still has that JaceFace.
Help our families focus on their sick child, not medical bills.
When you donate monthly, your gift means families, like Jace'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.