4 years old
Woods loves playing with cars and trucks and putting together puzzles. He’s also a patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital® for brain cancer. At 4, this happy-go-lucky kid is as conversant about his cancer treatment as he is about his favorite cartoon, Paw Patrol.
It started in 2017 with vomiting every morning and progressed to headaches, too. Woods’ mom also noticed her little boy seemed clumsier than normal, a bit off-kilter.
That September, tests revealed Woods had a type of brain cancer called medulloblastoma. His parents sought a referral to St. Jude—even though it was hundreds of miles from home—because of its sheer number of experts in pediatric cancer. “Whereas another hospital might have one expert on staff, St. Jude had dozens,” said Woods’ dad, Hank.
Woods’ family arrived to St. Jude on Monday, Sept. 18, 2017. Surgeons removed the brain tumor. Soon after, the family got their first good news: Pathology revealed the tumor was a subtype of medulloblastoma that often responded well to treatment. Woods had a good prognosis.
At St. Jude, Woods’ continuing treatment included chemotherapy and radiation therapy. The treatment saved his life. Woods celebrated his No More Chemo party in May 2018. Now he comes back just for checkups.
“St. Jude means everything to us,” said Woods’ mom, Ashley. “You arrive thinking your world is falling apart, and they give you hope.”
Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent to 80 percent since it opened 50 years ago. And at St. Jude, families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food, because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
“We feel so fortunate,” said Woods’ mom, Ashley.