STERLING, N.Y. — An 11-year-old boy from upstate New York ended his excruciating summer-long chemotherapy treatments and celebrated his last session in true Buffalo Bills fashion.
On Tuesday, Joshua "Joshy" Hutchinson grabbed a Buffalo Bills football helmet, walked over to a mock table, and body-slammed into it as Bills fans notoriously do.
"He said, 'I’m coming out and I'm going through a table,' like he's seen it on that, I don't know, Bills Mafia or something, I said, ‘OK.’ I think it was like seeing him born again," Karen Hutchinson, the boy's grandmother.
She recalled that for the last three months, the twinkle in her grandson's eyes had disappeared after he was diagnosed with stage 2 Hodgkin's lymphoma in June. It's a malignant cancer cell that forms in the lymph system.
"It was a lump on his neck, and it grew in before it grew out, so that's why it was stage 2, because it was so big, and it grew in first," said Karen.
His father, Joshua Hutchinson, recalled discovering the lump.
"We were actually at my boss' house for a kids get-together, and they had one of the big water slides and all the kids were going down headfirst since all the kids were going down feet first. He came over to us and he was in no pain but his neck was real swollen. No pain to touch, no nothing, so we let it go over the weekend," said Joshua Hutchinson.
"The family, who resides in Sterling, New York, was then sent to Children's Cancer and Blood Disorders, in Syracuse, after Joshy's pediatrician said his test results looked troubling.
Immediately, his bi-weekly chemo sessions began, undergoing up to three painful sessions a week.
"A lot of long nights, long days," Joshua said as he fought back tears via Zoom.
The pain extended throughout the family, and Joshy's father was heartbroken having to watch as his oldest son was at war with his own body.
"He's been in and out of the hospital quite a bit because he had a little bit of a reaction to some of the chemo, especially when it was the week of the double doses," Karen explained. "Every time he went to chemo, he had to wear his Josh Allen jersey."
Ultimately, on Tuesday, Aug. 31, Joshy had finished his last chemotherapy session. It came at a coincidental time as Sept. 1 marks the first day of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month each year, but the little warrior showed the unpredictable disease who truly reigns supreme.
Joshy explained with a huge grin, "I was happy that we were done with it."
He even recruited his dad as a new member of the Bills Mafia, subsequently leaving the Miami Dolphins fan base.
"It was just something I liked as a kid so I continued to like them, but now since the Bills Mafia is so supportive of him, that's my team," Joshua explained.
After all of the balloons, confetti, and celebratory events, Joshy said there is one thing young kids should remember if they too are at war with their body: "Just keep fightin' and you'll get through it eventually."
The family said Joshy's cancer is in remission and will be taking the necessary steps for this next phase.
"He's in remission now and will go back every three months, and then he'll go every six months just to keep checking on it. They said the best chance for it to come back would be in the first year, so if we can get past that, we can be golden," Joshua said.
Joshy also his doctor gave him the green light to start school in person, full-time. His first day of 6th grade begins next week.
WKBW shared this story on social media and it has received the attention of Josh Allen.
This is so awesome! https://t.co/sArXBHEPaI— Josh Allen (@JoshAllenQB) September 2, 2021
This story was originally published by Pheben Kassahun at WKBW.