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Jules sipped on his Shake Shack milkshake while latching onto his IV pole, or “poley,” as he calls it. He rolled his way through the hospital, stopping to receive several hugs along the way. Based on the smile that lit up his face, you would have never guessed that the 3-year-old has been in treatment since 2017 at the Children’s Cancer Institute at Hackensack Meridian Health Joseph M. Sanzari Children's Hospital.
It started as an ear infection that persisted for nearly a year. The ENT who put tubes in Jules’ ear found a polyp in his ear canal, which turned out to be cancerous.
“It took us eight months for Jules to get diagnosed, and we were one of the lucky families,” Jules’ mother, Rachele, said.
Jules is battling an extremely rare blood disorder called Langerhans cell histiocytosis. This disorder is treated with chemotherapy and, Rachele tells us, only recently received approval for funding.
Jules currently goes to the Children’s Cancer Institute in Hackensack, New Jersey, for treatment once a month for five days at a time.
“It’s the worst thing that you could ever imagine and the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” Rachele said. “It's not supposed to be part of what being a kid is.”
Choosing where Jules should receive treatment was a critical part of the process for Rachele and her family. Luckily, they immediately felt at home at the Children’s Cancer Institute.
“From the very beginning, my husband and I just felt like everyone, not just our doctors and nurses, everyone knew our son, everyone knew us and our other son…The entire staff, everyone is your doctor. You’re not a number,” Rachele said.
Hackensack University Medical Center, the leading pediatric cancer research center in New Jersey, is home to Tackle Kids Cancer, a philanthropic initiative that is dedicated to finding a cure for pediatric cancer.
Funds raised via Tackle Kids Cancer not only go towards treating kids like Jules, but they also support pediatric cancer research. In fact, many people don’t realize that only four percent of government cancer funding is allocated to pediatric research.
Since 2016, Tackle Kids Cancer has been the official charity of THE NORTHERN TRUST, the PGA TOUR’s first Playoffs event. Each year during the final two rounds of the tournament, several Tackle Kids Cancer patients—otherwise known as Most Valiant Patients, or MVPs—serve as flag bearers on a hole, where they tend the flag while the pro golfers putt. The kids light up as they receive high fives, autographs, fist pumps and hugs from the likes of Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Rory McIlroy, Rickie Fowler and the rest of the world’s best.
When members of THE NORTHERN TRUST tournament team visited Hackensack in early May, they not only got to meet and spend time with MVPs like Jules, but they also got to see firsthand the tournament’s charitable dollars in action.
The tournament team delivered Shake Shack milkshakes and decorated PGA TOUR hats while playing a few games of Chippo—golf’s version of cornhole—with the kids.
“It is so important for our team to meet and spend time with the Tackle Kids Cancer MVPs outside of tournament week and to see the incredible work that the Hackensack and Tackle Kids Cancer teams do every single day,” said Megan Brewi, tournament services coordinator for THE NORTHERN TRUST who helped coordinate the team’s visit.
“Getting a hug from little Jules and seeing his eyes light up when we handed him the milkshake truly meant the world to all of us. Jules and the other patients we met are the real MVPs.”
There are many ways you can support MVPs like Jules and help Tackle Kids Cancer find a cure for pediatric cancer. One of which is through THE NORTHERN TRUST’s Tickets Fore Charity program, whereby the purchase of a tournament ticket directly benefits Tackle Kids Cancer. Visit THENORTHERNTRUST.com/ticketsforecharity and use the code 19TKC when purchasing your tickets. Learn more about Tackle Kids Cancer at tacklekidscancer.org.
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