Local boy scout helping young Leukemia patient find bone marrow - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Local boy scout helping young Leukemia patient find bone marrow donor

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Josiah is battling Leukemia. Josiah is battling Leukemia.
Jacob Simmons, a freshman at Castle, wants to help Josiah find a bone marrow donor. Jacob Simmons, a freshman at Castle, wants to help Josiah find a bone marrow donor.

September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness month. 

From making meals to offering prayers, when a child is diagnosed people often wonder what they can do to help.

Well this weekend, you could make a big difference for a child or adult with cancer or other disease.

A Tri-State boy scout is making it all happen. He tells 14 New that he lost his grandfather to cancer and he wants to organize something to help give back and help others, not just here in the Tri-State, but all over. 

At the center of his efforts is a little boy from Evansville who will melt your heart.

Josiah Hodges loves tacos, tag, and telling knock-knock jokes. But lately, the four-year-old funny guy has not been laughing quite as much.

"He's changed a lot really since he's been sick," his mom, Kimberly Hodges said. 

The symptoms started in June. Some were of those symptoms involved a limp and sky-high fevers. Within an hour of arriving at the Riley Hospital for Children in Indy, Kimberly and Patrick Hodges got the diagnosis no parent wants to hear.

"It was devastating," Kimberly said. 

Josiah has Leukemia. He's already spent more than a month in the hospital enduring weekly spinal taps and chemotherapy. 

Josiah's best chance for growing up healthy is a bone marrow transplant. Since no one in his immediate family qualifies as a donor, the Hodges are turning to a national registry.

"It's not something that there's a lot of awareness of. So getting new people on that registry is really important for all the kids that are waiting for a donor," Kimberly said.

Now, Jacob Simmons, a freshman at Castle High School, is on a mission to build that registry. 

Sunday, he's honoring Josiah, at a bone marrow drive through the National Marrow Donor Program, Be The Match.

It's a big undertaking for a 14-year-old, something Jacob's been planning for a year, as his Eagle Scout project.

"Usually their employees come and run the whole drive, but they're letting me for my Eagle Scout project to run the whole drive you know as a show of leadership," Jacob said.

Organizing everything is the hard part. Signing up is simple.

"It's just paperwork and then a cheek swab. Four cotton swabs, just inner parts of your cheek, and you're done. That gets you on the registry. Then be the match, they do other DNA samples," Jacob said.

The Hodges will be on their way to St. Jude while the drive's going on, but they're hopeful it will make an impact. 

"I would just love to see a huge outpouring of support, not just for Josiah, but just for all the kids that are there," Kimberly said.

"It's extremely humbling that he would give his time and so much care to doing this to help other people. It's just meant a lot to us to know that people like us can be helped and there's probably a whole lot  more kids that will have a chance because of something like this, people like this," Patrick said.

The bone marrow drive is Sunday from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. at Riverwind Church on Vann Road in Newburgh.  

The Hodges say they have one possible match on the registry right now, but don't know for sure if it will work out or not.

If Josiah ends up having a transplant at St. Jude, the entire family will move to Memphis for four to six months. For updates, check out the Facebook page, Pray for Josiah

If you'd like more information on what it means to be part of the Be The Match bone marrow registry, or who's eligible, click here.

You must be 18 years old to register to donate.

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