Jackson Dupps lived up to his nickname of “Action Jackson” last week as he chased his older brother, threw toy balls around his living room, connected about 12 Expo markers together and used them as a walking stick, and shot out a few coy smiles as he contentedly played during Wednesday’s stormy weather.
It was a much better afternoon for the 2-year-old in days, as he recently completed round three of 27 chemotherapy treatments since having a cancerous tumor removed along with his kidney last month.
Dupps’ parents, Greg and Kelli, said doctors at Phoenix Children’s Hospital found the mass about the size of a grapefruit after they took him to his regular doctor for a constant cold and looming fever.
“From there the ball was rolling and it went really fast, and there was no way I could wrap my head around it,” said Kelli, adding that doctors looked into blood in his urine and then found a Wilms tumor, the most common form of child kidney cancer, on Jan. 15.
Four days later, Dupps’ kidney was removed.
“He’s a tough little guy, he’s definitely a fighter,” Greg said.
After a near two-week stay at the hospital, while a second opinion confirmed for the family it was in fact a Wilms tumor, Dupps went through precautionary radiation before starting chemotherapy.
“There’s a lot more that we have to do at home now, like shots, mouth care and different things that I never thought would become a part of our daily routine,” Kelli said.
Mentioning that their household is trying to make the new routine a “new normal,” Kelli said the support from the Ahwatukee community has made a huge difference.
“It made me feel like we were really able to get through it,” she said.
On Saturday, the family rallied together at Bleacher’s Sports Grill in Ahwatukee to raise money for medical bills. The restaurant offered discounted prices and accepted donations in exchange for drinks and buzzed hair cuts. Since shaving Dupps’ hair recently after his parents noticed some rapid hair loss, Greg shaved his head, too.
Dupps’ brother Ethan, 6, along with friends, neighborhood kids, and other family members buzzed their hair in support of Dupps.
Now, just more than a month later, the playful toddler still has about a year of treatments to complete.
“It’s a long road ahead, just one day at a time,” said Kelli, as she watched her son trot barefoot across the room with his markers.
To donate or learn more about Dupps journey, visit youcaring.com and search “Action Jackson Dupps Cancer Fund.”
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