- Behind The Scenes
PRIESTVILLE, Miss. (WCBI) - A year ago, a young Monroe County teenager is diagnosed with a rare brain cancer. A year later he's healthy again, with the help of friends, family and doctors at St. Jude's.
Father of cancer survivor John Northington says, "It's just an awesome feeling to be where we are at today. We likely lost him, he likely left us. We serve an awesome God, we don't know what else to say."
It all started with some headaches that just wouldn't go away. After some tests and x-rays, members of the Northington family knew what they were fighting. On June 7, 2011, Jon-Michael Northington was diagnosed with Glioblastoma, a very rare form of brain cancer. He was 16 at the time and one of only four children ever diagnosed with the illness.
Cancer survivor Jon-Michael says, "The first thing we did is we went to Vanderbilt. When we went up there, we did my surgery. It was a 10-hour surgery."
Eager to get home for Fathers Day and back into sports for his senior year and the motorcycles he loves, Jon worked hard at recovery. The doctors at Vanderbilt said he wouldn't make it, but he was bent on proving them wrong.
Northington says, "We didn't really agree with what he was going with so we've always heard great things about St. Jude and it's a great cancer center and it's close to home."
With a new therapy program from St. Jude's. Jon underwent 31 radiation treatments. He would go to school until noon and then make the trek with his dad to Memphis five days a week until he was done. Now doctors say he's cancer free. He only has to return every three months for checkups. But on almost every one of those Memphis trips, he told his dad he had a special trip in mind when he was well.
According to Northington, "When I was little, I always had dirt bikes and dad would leave out going somewhere and I would just follow him down the road as far as I could go and turn around and come back home. Finally I got old enough to go and I was always busy with sports and then we were thinking about doing this last year, but I got diagnosed with brain tumor."
The Northingtons have a long love affair with Harley Davidsons. Jon's dad owns close to 20 and he got his first one when he was only 11. Now father and son will take to the open highway with Sturgis, South Dakota their destination.
"I think this is the year we're going to Sturgis daddy and he said, why is that? I said, I'm going to do a benefit for St. Jude on the way."
Father and son plan to use the road trip to raise money for St. Jude's. In the end, they hope to hand over a big check to an organization that has given them so much to be thankful for.
If you would like to sponsor the duo or just make a donation call Johnny Northington at 662-315-4462 or find them on facebook at Team Jon-michael