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Jake Hanley "Big Jake"

Jake is 14 years old and was looking forward to starting high school and attending soccer tryouts  when we thought he injured his knee playing basketball. Within a week we learned he has osteosarcoma in his right femur. Prior to this shocking diagnosis, Jake was a very active healthy boy.   We are truly grateful to our family and friends for their prayers and love which have helped so very much. Jake unfortunately will miss his first semester of high school while receiving chemotherapy and hopefully surgery at UNC, but he and I made it to his school's parent night where he met his amazing teachers at O'Neal School in N.C. This boy loves school and it was wonderful to watch him check his locker and crutch through exhaustion to visit every teacher. Jake just doesnt quit and was so beat he dry heaved on the way home.  A social and friendly young man, Jake has a group of close friends and they have kept him updated on the high school experience. He attended driver's ed with them over the summer (the one week I let him go without crutches as he feared the instructor would think he couldnt drive).   Jake loves being active; camping with the bsa, taekwondo, swimming, soccer, basketball and his favorite, lacrosse.  We all look forward to the day he is able to run again.   Jake also loves drama, comics (DC and MARVEL), music from the 70's and 80's, and of course, video games. A nurse asked him once who he'd want to have lunch with and  without missing a beat, he answered, "Stan Lee." His favorite singer has always been Johnny Cash and he is a Star Wars connoisseur. Jake has always been the kid who high-fives the younger students in the hall and is the 1st to volunteer to help.  Jake plans to be an aeronautical engineer for NASA and wants to earn his pilot's license while a teenager. He loves to read and his current book is "The Astronaut Maker." The NASA logo is his computer's background. Jake hopes to complete his Eagle Scout project this year and is his troop's SPL. His troop members are wonderfully supportive and I've been told more than once that he is a natural leader. He started tae kwondo as a little one which helped him in so many ways including learning self discipline and the importance of teaching others.He earned his instructor certification and always enjoyed teaching and sparring with the younger students at MAASPI. Jake has been in his school musical since 2nd grade and loves being on stage. We are still trying to learn how to pitch this new deep voice! My son has always astounded me and others with his knowlwdge of multiple topics. He loves history, science and math and was selected for Duke Tip in 4th grade due to his high national test scores each year. Despite his intellect, he often got by with a B in middle school if he did not love a topic or just had a lively social crew in the class. As an only child, raised away from extended family, Jake loves school and though an introverted and creative young man, he  loves the comedic  spotlight and is certainly not shy.  I do not know what I am expected to share on this site so have attempted to give an idea of Jake's personality and beautiful soul. I have always thanked God for gifting the world and me with such a wonderful child. I do not understand God's plan here, but know that Jake has always felt drawn to St. George and prays to him regularly. George is his chosen confirmation name and he loves the combination of warrior and ethics he encompasses. My son's faith has always surpassed my own and I am awed by his knowledge and ideals. We have raised Jake to be nonjudgmental and open minded but I believe those attributes are part of his curious soul. Jake always has a smile for others and is super positive. He told me this cancer thing will mess up his schedule and he'll miss a lot but is looking forward to the rehab process once surgery occurs so he can put his all into getting well. We are hoping for a limb salvageable surgery and if possible, a donor bone transplant in the future as he said he likes his "own real knee."  Jake has an aggressive chemotherapy/treatment plan as ostosarcoma is rather rare (600 to 800 cases /yr),  and tends to have micro cells in the lungs not picked up by scan.  Holding my 6'3" boy during an awful bout of nausea or pain is a fiercely powerful and helpless emotionally laden experience I think only other parents can truly understand.  As Mom of Jake, I have taken FMLA from my nurse practitioner work as I will of course be by my son's side through this process. The world may not stop when something like a cancer dx hits your family, but my world immediately halted as other worries vanished.   My son is known for his quick wit, tall stature and natural leadership qualities but his kind and thoughtful nature is what i marvel at most of all. People are easily endeared to him as he sees the humor in everyday situations and has never given up on any race, goal or responsibility. I am grateful to UNC Chapel hill Pediatric oncology for recommending this site. Any funds received will go directly toward expenses related to Jake's care.  Thank you for learning about Jake and of course,  thank you for prayers and well wishes.
  • Patricia Buckley 
    • $25 
    • 26 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $100 
    • 40 mos
  • Barry Savard 
    • $100 
    • 43 mos
  • Anonymous 
    • $25 
    • 44 mos
  • Andy Capobianco 
    • $50 
    • 44 mos
See all

Fundraising team: Team Big Jake Donovan Hanley (3)

Donovan Hanley 
Vass, NC
David Hebert 
Team member
Katie Hebert 
Team member

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