Ambassador Highlight: Meet Jack

Published: July 25th, 2017

Category: CMN Ambassador Stories, For the Kids, Patient Stories

Most sixth graders’ biggest worry is what’s for dinner, or how to convince parents to buy the latest video game.

When Jack Murray was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia, or AML, at 11 years old, he and his family were focused on something much more important.

Jack is one of five children—the only boy. In May 2012, he was tested for mononucleosis. His bloodwork came back with a more serious diagnosis. He and his family traveled from Tallahassee to Gainesville that same day to see William Slayton, M.D., chief of pediatric hematology/oncology at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital.

Jack and his family spent the first few days in a flurry of tests and meetings to define exactly what type and subtype of leukemia he had. They not only learned it was AML, but that it was also in his spinal fluid. He began four consecutive rounds of chemotherapy and would be at the children’s hospital for six months.

Because of the distance, Jack’s family became one divided from May through October, with one parent at home with his sisters and the other at the hospital. While hospitalized, Jack celebrated his 12th birthday in the game room on Unit 42 with pizza, friends, games and a cookie cake. However, these visits would become less frequent as he suffered the side effects and other illnesses that come with so much chemotherapy.

“Through it all, Jack was amazing,” his family said. “He defied the odds and we were able to bring him home for a few days in between some of his chemotherapy rounds. How grateful we were to all be together and know he was asleep in his own bed!”

Now, more than five years later, Jack is cancer-free and back to his favorite hobbies, including playing the guitar.

“We thank God every day for his remission,” his family said. “We also thank God for the amazing doctors, nurses, volunteers, social workers and everyone else who devotes so much of their lives to making it possible for kids like Jack to not only survive, but to have some comfort during that time.”

Jack’s family notes the difference CMN Hospitals makes in the level of care available to kids at UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital. From the best, brightest and most dedicated doctors and nurses, to the latest treatments and therapies, Jack and patients like him are able to receive the best possible care thanks to the support CMN Hospitals receives.

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