Halloween treats

St. Jude patient Drew

Drew is battling cancer bravely, with or without his swashbuckler costume.

Drew was just 2 years old when he was found to have acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“My first thought was, it’s got to be a mistake,” remembered his mom. “That happens to people on TV, on the news. Not to my kid.”

The family’s pediatrician advised Drew’s parents to rush him to the local children’s hospital. Drew had been admitted for treatment there when a relative called the family and said, “Listen, you need to go to St. Jude. This is what they do.”

St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has increased survival rates for acute lymphoblastic leukemia from 4% before opening in 1962 to 94% today — the world’s best. St. Jude’s expertise in developing and delivering treatments for childhood cancer was an extremely important factor in the family’s decision to come to St. Jude, as was the best possible quality of life for Drew during his treatment.

St. Jude works hard to let sick kids be kids, and it’s never more apparent than at Halloween. This kid-friendly holiday is a very big deal at the hospital, with St. Jude Child Life organizing a hospital-wide trick-or-treating event.

Last year’s celebration at the hospital was Drew’s first experience trick-or-treating, because the year before, his family had been living in an area of New York affected by Hurricane Sandy. Without any electricity, the town leaders canceled trick-or-treating. And by the following Halloween, Drew was a patient at St. Jude.

Dressed in a swashbuckling pirate costume, Drew quickly learned the ropes. His mom said, “I believe he was genuinely surprised when he walked up to the first group of St. Jude employees and said ‘trick-or-treat’ and was given a handful of candy. He was ecstatic when I told him he got to keep going all around the hospital!”

Because Drew’s disease requires a three-year treatment plan, he will likely be trick-or-treating at St. Jude again this Halloween — and he’s excited about it. But he hasn’t decided yet on a costume. “We think it will have something to do with keys,” said his mom. “Drew is obsessed with car keys.”


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