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St. Jude patients Seth (left) and Reese, osteosarcoma

Stronger together

Seth and Reese met at St. Jude while being treated for the same type of cancer. They instantly became inseparable friends. Seth helped Reese get acclimated. Reese then helped other patients.

At the beginning of 2016, as Seth began his final semester of college in Louisiana, he was in the midst of interviewing for medical school. A few states away in Tennessee, 17-year-old Reese was busy training for his school’s upcoming baseball tryouts. Although they didn’t know each other at the time, they would soon be connected by a life-changing diagnosis. 

As the year progressed, Seth developed a nagging pain in his right leg. Believing he could have a stress fracture, he visited an orthopedic surgeon near his hometown. That’s when an MRI confirmed that Seth suffered from osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer. Seth was immediately referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where he would begin a treatment plan that included chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumor.

Just a few weeks later, Reese began experiencing similar symptoms. Being in the middle of baseball tryouts, he powered through the pain until it became unbearable. After a scan initially revealed a mass, he and his family traveled to St. Jude, where a diagnosis of osteosarcoma was confirmed. 

St. Jude patients Seth and Reese

At St. Jude, Seth and Reese soon met and developed a friendship that would have a lasting impact for not only themselves, but several fellow patients. Because Seth arrived a few weeks before, he was able to answer some questions for Reese and provide insight about the treatment process. Soon after, Reese was able to reach out to other osteosarcoma patients and do the same. “To be able to help someone who hasn’t gone through treatment yet, it means a lot,” said Reese. “It’s pretty special.”

St. Jude 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. We won’t stop until no child dies from cancer.

“At St. Jude, they made me feel at home right away,” said Seth at the time. “They really look at the whole picture and made this difficult part of my life a lot more manageable.”

Today, Reese is close to finishing treatment and will start his senior year of high school in the fall. Meanwhile, Seth returned home and came back to St. Jude for regular checkups.

“I plan to start med school in the fall,” he said. “I want to become a doctor and come back to work for St. Jude.”

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

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