In February, I took Josh to the doctor to check on some issues he was having. During testing, the doctor noticed masses in his chest. After further examination, we were referred to the hospital in Macon. More tests followed, and they confirmed that Josh has cancer.
Josh’s initial illness was terrifying, but it ended up being a blessing in disguise. Without it, who knows how long the cancer would have gone unchecked? Most people don’t automatically think their sixteen-year-old has cancer when he’s feeling a little under the weather.
At age four, Josh was diagnosed as being on the autism spectrum. His father passed away in 2013. So this was not our first rodeo when it comes to dealing with hardship. No pity necessary; GOD has got us! Yes, the cancer diagnosis was a blow, but I couldn’t allow myself to give in to panic at that point. If Josh wasn’t freaking out, I had no right to freak out. We needed to focus on our next steps to getting him well.
By the grace of God, we were introduced to the Jay’s HOPE Foundation right from the beginning! I cannot stress enough how vital Jay’s HOPE has been during this process. They’ve helped with rent, referred us to other organizations who provided funding, visited us in the hospital, gone to some appointments with us, provided meal vouchers, offered emotional and strategic support, and much more! They have truly been a blessing from God.
They’ve filled the gap and allowed us to focus more energy on getting Josh well rather than just surviving. I am deeply humbled. Although this is a hard process for us, I’m reminded of all the little ones and their families who have it even harder, of the suffering and loss of people braver than I’ll ever be, and ultimately of little Jay Gaskins, whose life inspired so much.
Sometimes people say, “We couldn’t have done this without you,” and that may be an exaggeration. For us, when it comes to Jay’s HOPE, it’s no exaggeration. We couldn’t do this without them.
-Alisa, Josh’s Mom
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