10 Years Old at Diagnosis
In January 2012, around his 10th birthday, Jacob (Jake) Crump joined a competitive soccer league. When he began to complain of hip and leg pain, his parents worried the pressure of the league might be too much and that perhaps he was simply looking for a reason to sit on the bench. By March, Jake was still in pain. His parents decided to take him to the doctor for tests. After reviewing an x-ray, his doctor believed his hip was slipping out of place and recommended surgery in the near future and Jacob was sent home. However, 24 hours later, Jake woke up screaming in pain. His father rushed him to the hospital emergency room, where Jake received an initial diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma.
The Ewing sarcoma diagnosis was confirmed by an MRI performed later that day at Bronson Methodist Hospital in Kalamazoo. Jake was then referred to a pediatric bone cancer specialist at Detroit’s Beaumont Hospital. Jake and his family headed to Detroit for a biopsy and more tests. An EKG and ultrasound confirmed his heart was healthy enough to withstand the very aggressive chemotherapy treatments recommended. Just days later, Jake had a port in his chest and was back at Bronson to begin the first of six rounds of chemotherapy.
While at home, his mother Jody administered daily Neupogen shots to help Jake’s immune system recover from the chemo. When overnight stays were necessary, Jake’s father, Jeff, would bring his younger sisters, Lauren and Emma, to the hospital in the evenings for the Crumps to have family time. They always brought a TV, Xbox and fun gags and pranks from home because Jacob spent at least 8 nights per month in the hospital.
During Jake’s initial rounds of chemo, the Crumps’ community rallied. Jake’s school created a top-fundraising CureSearch Walk team and wore t-shirts that said, “Friends don’t let friends fight cancer alone.” Jake’s friends shaved their heads in solidarity. Jake’s teacher made house calls, and family, neighbors and friends prepared and delivered hot meals. As a result of all of the community support, Jody felt the need to give back and share her experience with other parents of kids with cancer. She and several other parents formed the “PACKS” (Parent and Cancer Kids Support) group at Bronson Hospital. Three years later, the group is a peer to peer support system for parents whose children have won, lost or are still fighting the fight.
In mid-June, three months after diagnosis and six rounds of chemo later, Jake’s tumor had shrunk enough to be surgically removed. In addition to the tumor, one of Jake’s pelvic bones and some soft tissue were also removed. Post-surgery the Crumps were hopeful, but Jake’s doctors felt that his best chances for long-term survival depended on finishing 11 more brutal rounds of chemotherapy.
Today, over three years post-diagnosis, Jake’s tests are not showing any evidence of cancer. To combat fear of a possible relapse, Jody makes sure to stay connected with her PACKS group, and Jody and the family continue to support the greater childhood cancer community. Jake’s dad has ridden in the 300 mile Make a Wish “WAM ride” for the past 3 years in an attempt to keep the “Wish Bank” full so that other families can have the amazing experience Jake’s did. Additionally, the whole family actively advocates for cures by supporting their local CureSearch Walk. “Team Crump for a Cure” participated in its fourth Kalamazoo CureSearch Walk in June and raised over $2,700 for children’s cancer research.
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