Josiah has been through a lot in his young life, and he continues to face more challenges than most. But, as his photos attest, he has no shortage of joy.
In 2017, at just a year old, Josiah was already being monitored by his local hospital for an optic pathway glioma, a low-grade, slow-growing tumor along his optic nerve.
But then, around February of the following year, he developed gastrointestinal and urinary symptoms that led to a second discovery: a softball-sized tumor affecting his prostate.
Josiah was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where a diagnosis of embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma, a type of soft tissue cancer, was confirmed.
Josiah’s family was familiar with St. Jude from seeing television commercials. But they didn’t know families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food. This proved to be a big relief right away, when Josiah was inpatient for 52 days.
During that time, said his mom, Amanda, “everybody on the fifth floor was family.” The “Happy Cart” came down the hall regularly, delivering a choice of toys to the kids’ hospital rooms. Josiah would often pick out a toy car — he loves to play with his cars.
“This hospital makes you feel at home,” she said. “Everyone is so welcoming, and we don't have to worry about anything other than taking care of him.”
Josiah has also required months of outpatient treatment, including chemotherapy and proton therapy, which have shrunk the rhabdomyosarcoma tumor considerably. St. Jude doctors also monitor his glioma, which remains stable.
Now 3 years old, he is still receiving chemotherapy and is on track to finish cancer treatment this spring. “He gets excited when I tell him we’re going to St. Jude for appointments,” said Amanda.
He especially loves speech and music therapies.
St. Jude is awesome. Our family is very thankful for all the work they have done for our son. We will forever be grateful.