As 6-year-old Jomari Bradley continues to battle brain cancer, his family and friends are requesting Christmas cards to keep him in the holiday spirit.
Bradley has anaplastic ependymoma, a rare type of cancer consisting of brain and spinal cord tumors. The little boy has gone through five surgeries and multiple rounds of radiation and chemotherapy. He’s currently finishing a 28-day radiation treatment.
“His last day of radiation is [Tuesday],” his mom Doneshia Lee tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “I am excited because it has been a rough journey this past year. This is his second round of treatments. The first round was in 2017 for 30 treatments, five times a week. This time he had to do 28 treatments every day.” After he finishes today, they have to wait. “Then in January, he gets an MRI to see what the radiation has done as far as shrinking the tumor that sits on his brain stem.”
Until then, his family is trying to get him into the holiday spirit. So, Lee’s uncle Waffers Brown came up with the idea to request Christmas cards from anyone and everyone. “He wanted to do something special just to keep his great-nephew up in good spirits and just make his holiday feel loved and supported by many family and friends. Words of encouragement, prayers, or just simple thoughts go a long way,” Lee explains.
And others want to help. At the end of November a campaign called “Christmas Cards for Jomari” surfaced on a Facebook page called I Payed It Forward. “Let’s start a campaign and send as many Christmas cards as we can for Jomari Bradley,” the post suggests. Lee shared it on the Prayers For Jomari Bradley Facebook page, which she created in September 2017.
Lee thinks the cards will encourage her son.
The idea is taking off; kids in Canada are already working on cards for the superhero fan who lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.
“I only have six so far but I don’t know how many to expect,” Lee says. “I am just blessed and thankful to feel the love and support that the community and people from everywhere are doing for my family and for Jomari.”
Bradley was diagnosed in August 2017. On a GoFundMe page Lee set up, she wrote that Bradley has “high grade faster growing tumors.”
“One day he was sick for 10 days, could not eat, vomiting and just was not feeling well at all. I took him to the hospital and when they did a CT scan, that’s where they found the tumor on his brain,” Lee recalls. “He had to immediately be hospitalized and get immediate brain surgery.” Bradley was in the hospital for 60 days. “He had a total of three brain surgeries and two external ventricular drains inserted because the tumor was causing blockage to his spinal fluid and the spinal fluid was making his ventricles swell and put pressure on his brain,” she explains. He also had a shunt placement, two cycles of radiation treatments, and chemotherapy treatments.
In cases like Bradley’s, complete removal of the tumor is often not possible because of its location, according to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Anaplastic tumors grow more quickly and tend to spread into the surrounding normal brain tissue.”
But Bradley’s doctors are hopeful, Lee says. “The children’s hospital has been so good and supportive this whole time, and I am very thankful.” And Bradley has remained positive. “He has been a cheerful little boy,” his mom says. “The radiation and just going to the hospital, in general, has taken a toll on him but Jomari still stays with a smile. The cancer has taken a toll a little bit but we will continue to fight and keep going. No matter how tired or down I feel, I will continue to stay strong and be a superwoman for my babies and myself.”
The family needs more than Christmas cards, which is why Lee set up the GoFundMe page. The money raised there will go to “Jomari’s medical bills and also help the family with living expenses.”
Lee, her mother and Bradley’s siblings focus a lot on keeping the little boy happy, especially when things are looking grim. “The holidays are looking like just doing something fun for him and his siblings,” Lee says. “Christmas events, and just enjoying the holiday cheer.” They have a trip to look forward to. “The first of the year, we are doing a trip to Disney World for a week so I know the kids and Jomari and I are super excited to create more memories for him.”
Bradley will get to meet a lot of his heroes, but to many, he is the hero. “He is everyone’s superhero fighting for his life,” his mom says. “And I feed off his energy to gain superpowers of strength to keep going and keep fighting for him no matter what test comes my way.”
Read more from Yahoo Lifestyle:
- A baby with a brain tumor underwent a miraculous recovery after a kiss from Pope Francis
- Michael Bublé opens up about son’s cancer diagnosis: ‘I wish that it had been’ me
- 15-year-old with terminal illness gets birthday cards from thousands after mom’s request goes viral