The Definition of a Champion

 Brave - feeling or showing no fear. Jack Householder was one brave kid when he was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) at just five years old.

Courageous - doing something that you know is difficult or dangerous. Three years of intense treatment, seven types of chemotherapy, 925 doses, four inpatient stays; all between the ages of five and nine. Jack was very courageous throughout his entire treatment.

Inspirational - to make someone want to do something. Although he was just a young boy, Jack was an inspiration to those around him. He showed them it’s okay to laugh and have fun. Despite his situation, he continued to smile, always lighting up those around him. The family was often told, “If that little fella can get through it so can I.”

In January 2009 the Householder’s lives turned upside down. Blood tests revealed Jack had ALL – a form of cancer in the blood and bone marrow that causes the body to create too many immature white blood cells. During a shocking and unbelievable time the family found comfort in their health care team at Children’s Hospital, London Health Sciences Centre. One hundred billion leukemia cells to destroy and three years of long, intense treatment to come; it was a lot for the family to take in. But, with a 90 per cent cure rate, Jack’s prognosis was good.

“Finding out Jack had leukemia was a heavy, heavy hit. So many things go through your mind: fear, sadness, panic. I had to practice saying ‘Jack has leukemia, my son has leukemia’ in order to be able to do with without crying,” shared his mom Heather.

After spending 12 days in hospital, Jack was ready to go home and begin his ‘new normal.’ There were many bumps along the road – difficult chemotherapy doses, mood-altering steroids, painful warts, as well as chickenpox, which can be extremely dangerous for a child on chemotherapy. However, Jack weathered each and every health challenge with a positive attitude.

On March 10, 2012 Jack had his final at-home dose of chemotherapy and his family threw a party to celebrate a successful journey. Jack continued to be followed by his team at Children’s Hospital to make sure the cancer didn’t return. Today, 13-year-old Jack remains in remission and has no long-term side effects. He will continue to visit the hospital for annual checkups to ensure he is well on his way to being a healthy, vibrant adult.

If you ask Jack about his journey he shares, “I am so lucky to have such a great hospital so close to where I live. I can go there when I need help. All the help from Children’s Hospital helps me live a normal life which is so awesome!”

In addition to being brave, courageous and inspirational, Jack is truly a champion - a fighter or warrior; a person who fights for any person or cause. Not only has Jack fought his way through cancer, he fights for support of his Children’s Hospital. As the 2016/17 Children’s Miracle Network Champion Child, presented by Walmart, Jack will help to raise awareness and funds for Children’s Health Foundation and be an ambassador for all of the kids, like himself, who receive treatment at Children’s Hospital. Thank you Walmart for giving Jack the opportunity to inspire his community and share his incredible story.