When 8-year-old Joshua’s cancer returned after three rounds of chemotherapy, his family was desperate to find a different treatment. They learned that a stem cell transplant could possibly cure him. But there was a problem - Joshua and his family lived in Jamaica, and the treatment wasn’t available there. His parents vowed to do whatever it took to help their son. So Kenroy, Joshua’s dad, took his son to New York to get the treatment he needed, leaving Joshua’s mom and 11-month-old brother behind. As painful as it was to leave them, it was the only hope for Joshua to get better.
The duo landed in America without knowing where they would be sleeping that night. Luckily, they soon found out about Ronald McDonald House, a nonprofit that provides temporary housing near medical centers for pediatric cancer patients and their families. They even have suites for children with suppressed immune systems, which is exactly what Joshua needed after his stem cell transplant.
For more than three months, Joshua had to be kept in isolation while his immune system regained its strength. The only people he interacted with were his dad, his teacher, and his visiting nurse, who all had to be decontaminated before they could enter his room. He couldn’t go to parks, stores, school, or play with other kids: public spaces were too dangerous.
By February 2018, Joshua was well enough to go out in public. That meant he was strong enough for a Make-A-Wish adventure! Joshua wished for a trip to Disney World, but most importantly, he wished for his mom and younger brother to be there too.
Make-A-Wish reunited Joshua’s family in Orlando, Florida. When Joshua saw his mom at the airport, he ran as fast as he could and jumped into her arms. He gave his brother a giant hug.
The family was overwhelmed with joy to be reunited and couldn’t believe they were together at Disney World. “He would get carried away!” said Kenroy with a laugh. “He couldn’t believe his brother was there with him.”
This trip was especially meaningful because Joshua had been in isolation for so long. His wish was granted just as his strength returned and it was the perfect celebration of the battle he had fought and won. After five total rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant, and an intensive recovery process, Joshua is finally on his way to being a healthy kid again.