Jennifer Godish, General Student Development teacher at Elgin Community College, and her family are going through hard times as their son Bradley fights for his life.
Bradley, a 5 year old boy from Elgin, IL., with feathery blond hair, and a smile that can make anyone’s day, began his fight against Acute Myeloid Leukemia back in the fall of 2014, “Bradley was a little run down with a cold and I was just planning on riding it out, knowing that if I took him to the doctor they’d just tell me he had a virus. And that’s exactly what happened. His foot hurt though, and even though it seemed minor, I kept coupling his “virus” with his foot pain and one night I was reading my book (a fiction novel by Jodi Picoult) and there was a brief mention of leukemia and it triggered something in my brain,” said Jennifer. Jennifer had just finished up teaching a College 101 class the day of Bradley’s first doctor visit. Both Jennifer and her husband Brian acted and took Bradley in to the hospital.
Brian Godish, Bradley’s father, took me through that moment when he and his family found out that their son had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML), the second most common cancer amongst children. “I had gotten back from running some errands, when the phone call came into my wife. We were both heart broken, stunned, shocked. It was pretty emotional and chaotic at the same time. We have a baby boy, and Bradley has a twin sister, the call came in late on a Friday evening. Trying to game plan on where everyone was going to be was a challenge to say the least.” Shortly after, Bradley was checked in at Lurie Children’s Hospital where he began his chemotherapy treatment.
Bradley had four rounds of intensive inpatient chemo from November 7th until February 16th, and had a stem cell transplant on February 17th. The stem cells came from his twin sister, Charlie. “She was a perfect match for him (only 25% of sibling’s match, so we are very lucky),” said Jennifer. Bradley spent over a month in the hospital for the transplant and when his counts recovered, Bradley and his family were sent to the Ronald McDonald House in order to remain close enough to Lurie’s Children’s Hospital in case anything major occurred. “As of right now Bradley has no more inpatient treatments scheduled unless he relapses,” said Jennifer. Currently Bradley is part of a clinical study which involves a chemo type pill, but no more hospital stays, chemotherapy or transplants.
The Godish family recently visited the Ronald McDonald House in Chicago roughly three weeks ago where they were greeted by all 48 of the 2015 McDonald’s All American’s. So you ask what are McDonalds All Americans? The best high school basketball players in the entire country, 24 boys and 24 girls, get together for a week in Chicago where they compete in several different events ranging from the Powerade Jamfest, Media Day, the McDonalds All American Game and most importantly a trip to the Ronald McDonald House. Net proceeds from the McDonald’s All American Games have raised more than $11 million for Ronald McDonald House Charities since 1978. Bradley and Brian had a blast during the visit. “It was very special, a once in a life time opportunity for us. Basketball has been a big part of my life, my first job out of Marquette was working with the Chicago Bulls front office,” said Brian. For Bradley it was a chance for him to just be a kid and interact with these special young men and women. Brian also noted that three players really stood out in particular, Mississippi State commit Malik Newman, Missouri commit Sophie Cunningham, Duke commit Chase Jeter. “All three really went out of their way to interact with our family. Their parents and families should be very proud of them, not just for what they’ve accomplished on the basketball court; these are exceptional young people who will be very successful in the game of life,” said Brian. The fun didn’t stop at the RMHC, the adventure continued at the game that took place on April 1st at the United Center in Chicago, IL. What a week for the five-year old boy who was diagnosed with AML back in the fall, players, coaches and staff made him feel like an All American himself.
“Bradley currently goes to Lurie Children’s Hospital once a week for them to check his counts and modify any medications he’s on. Right now, he is being slowly tapered off of immunosuppressant’s and we hope that by fall he will be able to start kindergarten with his twin sister,” said Jennifer.