Illinois child survives rare cancer at St. Jude, returns to build garden where hope grows

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When Jeremiah Godby was six years old he planned his own funeral. The little boy from Clinton, Illinois, wanted to be buried with his Nintendo, wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey.

In 1991, when Jeremiah was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia with a rare Philadelphia chromosome mutation, the cancer wasn't likely survivable. Doctors told his mother he'd be okay as long as he was on chemotherapy, but once the treatments stopped, he'd likely relapse. There wouldn't be much else they could do. 

"That's not something kids want to talk about when they're six," he said. "But it definitely happened."

St. Jude doctors suggested an experimental bone marrow transplant and Jeremiah told his parents he wanted to try it. His three-year-old brother provided the match.

Alive and flourishing, he returned to St. Jude years later as a college student studying landscape architecture and noticed there was no outdoor space where families could gather for spiritual healing.

He proposed a garden.

It came to life with the help of his classmates and professor, Kaizad Irani.

This is the story of Hope Garden in Jeremiah's own words.

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