Lives with: Stage 4 Hodgkins Lymphoma
Referred by: Levine Children's Hospital
Hometown: Fort Mill, SC
Favorite Sport: basketball
Jalen Willers is a 16-year-old from Fort Mill, SC and was referred to us by Levine Children’s Hospital. Sports are Jalen’s whole life, he’s a natural athlete and loves playing basketball and football for his school. A typical day might include hours dribbling and shooting around with friends, however, recently everything that was once normal for Jalen was put on hold. In January of this year, Jalen started feeling lethargic without much of an appetite, not at all like himself. Shortly after, in May 2016, he was diagnosed with Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a diagnosis that was a big shock to his entire family.
Jalen intended to spend his summer doing things a lot of kids his age do, like playing basketball and attending football practice to get ready for the upcoming seasons. Instead, Jalen began treatments right after his diagnosis and they didn’t leave him with very much energy. Jalen’s mom says that his entire focus became the chemo treatments and coping with the side effects, medication, and blood transfusions, all while they did their best to keep any anxiety at bay. Jalen and his family have maintained their positive outlook despite the many unknowns they face each day and in August they celebrated Jalen’s final treatment!
In September, Jalen entered high school as a junior. He has been working to regain his strength and endurance with hopes to play basketball his senior year. Throughout this unexpected journey, Jalen and his family have remained upbeat and optimistic. Now more than ever, they appreciate each moment and value each other and the time they have together. With Jalen’s fun personality it didn’t surprise us that he has a lot of great friends supporting him too. In fact, a group of his friends shaved their heads when the treatments started causing him to lose his hair. Jalen has certainly been blessed with a great team to lean on for support! We are all cheering for him and look forward to Jalen’s Dream which is “to attend a game at Madison Square Garden and shoot around with the New York Knicks.” His Dream Experience is being sponsored by the Greater Piedmont AFIA Golf Tournament.