In March 2015, Grady was taken to the emergency room, where they performed a CT and discovered a tumor in his brain. At that point, his parents brought him to Omaha, where he was diagnosed with Medullablasttoma, two weeks before his seventh birthday.
“The feeling after diagnosis is disbelief and somewhat surreal. We lost all our words and were just at a loss,” said Grady’s mom, Jodi.
Following his diagnosis, he had brain resection surgery, and when he came out of that surgery, he couldn’t use the right side of his body anymore. “He had to re-learn how walk, talk and eat again,” Jodi said. That summer, he went through radiation five days a week, and he had to be sedated every day of treatment. He also had chemotherapy treatments at Children’s, where he was hospitalized one to two nights per month.
The Simants got involved with Team Jack Foundation after a friend of theirs reached out to the organization and asked them what friends and family could do. Soon after, Team Jack contacted the family, and their members ended up becoming an amazing support system for them. “Without Team Jack’s help, I think we would struggle not having the support and company of like-minded people who can relate with the new way you love because they are doing the same,” Jodi said. “It’s more than just a research foundation; it’s a family that helps all of the families make it through this tough situation.”
Team Jack was also fundamental in bringing a new pediatric neuro-oncologist to Nebraska, which Jodi said is very important to their family. “Since my son’s diagnosis, at some point every day there comes a point where I worry about something that the disease has caused; the side effects that my son lives with daily; and of course, a recurrence or secondary cancer, which we are now in,” Jodi said. “Without Team Jack’s help, Grady’s chances would be less.”
In March 2019, Grady relapsed with medullablastoma, and his family is currently seeking treatment options.