Special homecoming held for 5th-grader fighting cancer
Relatives and residents in the Port Jefferson Station community arranged a homecoming celebration fit for a hero to show support for a courageous fifth-grader battling cancer.
Jackson Edwards, age 11, first battled a rare form of leukemia three years ago. In December, his illness relapsed.
He recently underwent a successful bone marrow transplant and endured a monthslong stay at John Hopkins Hospital in Maryland. On Monday, it was finally time to come home.
Supporters waved handmade signs, carried balloons and wore T-shirts in his honor at a celebration in front of the Edwards family home. A firetruck from the Terryville Fire Department was there, sirens blaring, to ring in Jackson's arrival.
Jackson's aunt, DeeDee Edwards, helped coordinate the special surprise, and she was on the phone with him as the car rode up to the house.
"He was screaming how excited he was -- 'We're three lights away, we're two lights away, we're one light away, we're at my house -- what's happening at my house?" she said, recalling her nephew’s shock.
Jackson's immune system is still weak as his recovery continues. He must wear a face mask and has to go through a round of vaccinations.
But being home is like Christmas in July -- literally. Jackson missed the holidays during his treatment, so after his arrival, his family celebrated the missed occasion at home, complete with a Christmas tree and presents.