Campus News Banner


MADISON COUNTY BOYS TO BE FEATURED
ON CHILDREN'S MIRACLE NETWORK SHOW

By Tammy Gay

 

Small UK Logo

When he was born at 34 weeks gestation with Apert Syndrome, doctors told his parents he would never walk or talk and he would not live long. Nine years later, Joseph is a bubbly, vibrant boy who attends public school in a regular classroom, enjoys playing basketball, singing and listening to music, and anything dealing with World War II.

Today, the only reminders Jacob Palmore has of cancer are some scars and digital hearing aids he wears due to a side effect from chemotherapy.

Small UK Logo

To return to the main Children's Miracle Network story, click here

For more information about how to donate to the UK Children's Hospital, call (859) 257-1121 or by sending an e-mail by clicking here. To make an online donation, click here.

May 24, 2002 (Lexington, Ky.) -- Joseph Stephens, 9, son of Joni and Pat Stephens, and Jacob Palmore, 10, son of Julia and Greg Palmore, both of Richmond, will be featured as "champions" during the "2002 Children's Miracle Network Celebration" May 31-June 1. The annual television fund-raiser benefits the University of Kentucky Children's Hospital. "Champion" is an appropriate term for both Joseph and Jacob, who survived life-threatening odds.

Joseph: For Joseph Stephens, to be 9 years old is a miracle in itself.

When he was born at 34 weeks gestation with Apert Syndrome, doctors told his parents he would never walk or talk and he would not live long.

Nine years later, Joseph is a bubbly, vibrant boy who attends public school in a regular classroom, enjoys playing basketball, singing and listening to music, and anything dealing with World War II.

But, the road for Joseph has not been easy.

When Joseph was born, physicians gave Joni and Pat Stephens options - "going at it with all forces" or having the basic minimal care provided. It was not even a choice for the Stephens - they went for it. Once Joseph was transported to the UK Children's Hospital Neonatal Intensive Care Unit - all forces were put into gear to save the boy's life.

"We really didn't think this baby was going to make it," said Nirmela S. Desai, M.D., neonatologist at the UK Children's Hospital and professor of pediatrics, UK College of Medicine.

Joseph has had quite a battle in his nine years. He's had more than 40 surgical procedures to make fingers and toes, to fix two hernias, to make more room in his skull for his brain to grow, and to help with his breathing and kidney problems.

One part of Joseph that needs no operation is his spirit.

"We're blessed with his being here. He's completely filled our lives and our family's lives," said his mother, Joni. "It's amazing how he affects people."

Jacob: Ten-year-old Jacob Palmore was diagnosed with cancer on June 28, 1999.

He had an inflammatory myofibroblastic tumor in his abdomen. In most cases, surgery is performed, the tumor is removed, and the patient is fine. However, in Jacob's case, he had four operations - one for diagnosis and the others to remove the tumor. But the surgeries did not cure Jacob - the tumor had spread through his abdominal cavity.

The only known successful treatment for this cancer is removing the tumor. Chemotherapy usually is not an option.

However, Jacob made it an option. Jeffrey Moscow, M.D., pediatric oncologist at the University of Kentucky Children's Hospital treated Jacob. Moscow reviewed journals and collaborated with other oncologists nationally and developed several regimens of chemotherapy for Jacob.

"All of the children we were aware of who had aggressive, unresectable IMTs like Jacob were given chemotherapy to try to treat the disease, but the chemotherapy was ineffective, and those children died. We used a different chemotherapy regimen, and Jacob is alive and without any evidence of disease now, a year after the completion of therapy," Moscow said.

Today, the only reminders Jacob has of cancer are some scars and digital hearing aids he wears due to a side effect from chemotherapy.

"If you didn't know he had been sick, you couldn't tell," said his mother, Julia. "He looks like every other boy in his class. He runs around. He plays Nintendo. His growth has caught up with the rest of the kids his age - they tell us sometimes they stop growing with the chemotherapy."

Jacob won't say anything negative about his hospital experience. He has fond memories of the nurses, Child Life staff and volunteers who kept him entertained during his stay.

"The nurses are all very nice - very compassionate - they knew how to deal with kids. They never treated him like a dying child," Julia said. "I have told other people it's where I will take my children if anything else happened," said Julia, who also has a 12-year-old daughter, Samantha.

Nearly three years after his diagnosis, Jacob is in complete remission and has been for more than a year.

Joseph, Jacob and other children will be recognized as "champions" during the Children's Miracle Network Celebration, which will be broadcast May 31-June 1 from Fayette Mall in Lexington on WKYT-TV, channel 27 (Lexington) and WYMT-TV, channel 57 (Hazard). Co-hosts are Barbara Bailey and Bill Bryant, WKYT-TV, and Tony Turner, WYMT-TV. During the broadcast, the program will feature and celebrate the triumphs of UK's young patients and the health issues they are facing. The annual program not only will recognize the children as champions, but also the many people who champion children, such as families, health professionals, individuals, volunteers and donors.

The broadcast Celebration begins at 8 p.m. Friday, May 31, and will continue through 11 p.m. On Saturday, June 1, the Celebration continues at 10 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m. During the broadcast, there will be a silent auction at Fayette Mall, which also benefits the UK Children's Hospital.

The University of Kentucky Children's Hospital is the local beneficiary for the 15th year of the annual Children's Miracle Network campaign to raise money for 170 children's hospitals across North America.

All proceeds raised in Kentucky stay in Kentucky to benefit the UK Children's Hospital, the only participating hospital in the state.

In the past 15 years, CMN has raised more than $7.5 million for the UK Children's Hospital. Last year through CMN, Kentuckians gave $1,052,000 to UK Children's Hospital, reaching the Hospital's $1 million fund-raising goal.

For more information on the Children's Miracle Network Celebration and auction or how to donate to the UK Children's Hospital, call (859) 257-1121.


Back to Campus News Homepage