What adjective would Jackie Savery use to describe her son? She shakes her head, smiling. “Grayson is his own adjective.”
Spend any time with the outgoing 5-year-old, and you’ll have no trouble understanding what she means. He sprints down hallways, asks loads of questions, and grins ear to ear the entire time. Except for the thin line of a scar on the back of his head, you wouldn’t have any idea that Grayson is living with a brain tumor. He is living life to the fullest.
Grayson has an astrocytoma on his brain stem. It is the type of tumor that can become almost a chronic disease — it may never disappear, but the goal of treatment is to keep it stabilized.
“His entire team at CHOP — I’ve never met more attentive and genuinely caring people,” says Grayson’s father, Tim. “When we started this path,” adds Jackie, “Dr. Belasco told us that we were all in this for the long haul. She’ll be taking care of Grayson through his teenage years.”
Grayson was a patient ambassador for the 2015 Parkway Run & Walk, an annual fundraiser for the Cancer Center and Center for Childhood Cancer Research at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia. In fact, brain tumor research at CHOP, some of it led by Dr. Storm, has been making incredible progress thanks to so many generous families and organizations that make fundraising a priority.
Grayson underwent chemotherapy for 17 months, and the tumor even shrank slightly — a better-than-expected outcome. Now he’s entering kindergarten in the fall, writing his name, eating well, walking, skipping, doing karate, begging to play soccer. “He’s a normal, typical 5-year-old little boy now,” says Jackie, getting emotional. “Which is all we ever wanted.”