by Jared Bray, ABS-CBN North America Bureau
SALT LAKE CITY — Six-year-old Joshua Stewart spends part of his days biking through the hallways at Primary Children’s Hospital, weaving around an obstacle course of doctors, nurses and family members.
It’s an encouraging and hopeful sight for his parents, who recently learned that their son has acute myeloid leukemia and a 65 percent chance of survival.
“It’s not something you really see coming, so that first week of processing the diagnosis and then also the treatment plan was pretty hard,” Joshua’s father, Jason, said.
He and his wife, Adrianne, adopted Josh five years ago in the Philippines. They say he’s been an amazing addition to their family, which also includes Breanna, 13, Eva, 11, and Maria, 3, who was born without limbs and also adopted from the Philippines.
“[We] just brought home [our] daughter from the Philippines a year and a half ago, and we’re right in the middle of another adoption, and so it seems like horrible timing, and it’s pretty overwhelming,” Adrianne said.
Josh recently completed his second round of chemotherapy and will be in and out of the hospital over the next several months to undergo three more treatments.
“We’re aware of what could happen,” Jason said. “We just hold high expectations, and that’s what keeps us in our high spirits.”
Along with his parents, Josh is also staying positive during this difficult time. He enjoys ordering pizza and french fries for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as being waited upon by the hospital staff.
“[They’re] like butlers,” he said with a smile.
Jason and Adrianne say they’re grateful for the kindness that’s been shown to them from friends, family and strangers, including donations made through a GoFundMe page that has so far raised $5,050 of its $10,000 goal.
“We even had a group of people come and make over our backyard,” Adrianne said, “which is really awesome, and they gave us some surprises that Joshua doesn’t even know about yet that he’s gonna find out when he gets home.”
Until then, Josh will continue to bike through his makeshift racetrack in the hospital halls as he recuperates from his treatment.