Reed’s first word was "ball." He played baseball almost from the time he could run, and was an all-star player when he started having vision problems and tingling in his hands. Reed continued to play baseball—and football and basketball—during the next three years of visits to doctors and specialists. No one seemed able to find a definitive cause for his ongoing symptoms.
By December 2013, when Reed was 11 years old, he was having seizures of increasing severity. The second time a seizure landed him in the emergency room, a scan showed Reed had a brain tumor. Following testing at a local children’s hospital, Reed was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
St. Jude's brain tumor science and technology are at the leading edge worldwide, but the care offered at St. Jude goes far beyond the latest advances. Reed’s mom highlighted the compassion and kindness of the staff. "We consider our doctors a network of family," she said. "St. Jude creates a safety net where you feel like everyone is there for you."
He doesn’t like cancer. But he doesn’t let it define him. And that’s a big deal.
Reed’s tumor, a type called anaplastic astrocytoma, was too invasive to be surgically removed. At St. Jude, Reed underwent six weeks of intensive chemotherapy and radiation therapy, followed by over a year of oral chemotherapy. Reed marked the completion of his treatment in June 2015 with a victory celebration at his family’s church. Although the tumor is currently stable, Reed will continue to come to St. Jude every eight weeks for scans and checkups.
Reed’s mom calls her son “a humble warrior.”
“He’s always got a smile on his face,” she said. “That’s just who he is. He doesn’t like cancer. But he doesn’t let it define him. And that’s a big deal.”