Every year we compete head-to-head in a series of challenges against other fire department teams in the name of pediatric cancer research. We team together with a pediatric cancer patient to have as our honorary coach. Challenges include tug-of-war, inflatable jousting, fire truck pull, obstacle course and dodgeball! Fire Up A Cure also features fun activities for the whole family.
Here is our co-captains(Jacks) story from his mother Erin:
In late Fall of 2015, Jack suddenly developed a limp. Even though he wasn’t experiencing any pain or discomfort, it was quite unsettling for a five year old to begin limping for seemingly no reason, so he went to the doctor for some x-rays and bloodwork. Everything came back looking fine. We set up some follow-up appointments and set off on a previously planned family cruise. While on vacation, Jack took a small spill in the cruise cabin and suddenly couldn’t bear any weight on his leg. It quickly became obvious that things were not fine. Once we were back on land, we got Jack in for x-rays, discovered that his femur had broken, and were immediately referred to pediatric emergency room at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Oak Lawn. The first priority was getting Jack’s broken leg pinned and in a cast. While the doctor was fixing the leg, he had some of the bone tissue sent out for a biopsy. A few days later, we were informed that Jack had Ewings Sarcoma in the upper portion of his right femur. We went back home for a short Christmas break before Jack returned to the hospital to begin the first of many inpatient chemotherapy treatments over New Year’s Eve. Though he had to spend many nights in the hospital, Jack always maintained a sense of positivity about what was happening to him. He never really complained about having to be there and he tried to make the best of his time by having junk food parties and movie marathons in his hospital room. In April of 2016, Jack went to Rush University Medical Center to have an extensive surgery to remove the upper half of his femur and have it replaced with a custom built metal replacement. Even when he woke up with PICU, groggy and sore, he still managed to give us a smile and ask if we remembered to bring his Legos to the hospital. Within hours, he was up on his new leg working with a physical therapist to get walking again. To our delight, the pathology on the excised bone tissue showed that the chemotherapy treatments were working – he had 100% necrosis of the tumor. Over the next several months, Jack resumed his chemotherapy
at Advocate while also continuing to work with his physical therapists. In September 2016, Jack completed his final chemo treatment. These days, Jack is still using a crutch to get around sometimes, but it certainly doesn’t slow him down one bit.