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St. Jude family grateful for “humbling, overwhelming" experience after helping hospital exceed $100 million

“We’ve had tears of sadness throughout the journey, but these are tears of joy.”

MEMPHIS, Tenn — Caleb Hammer’s parents Lindsey and Dan would do anything to save their son’s life, and they did. After some arm pain and an MRI at Campbell Clinic, the family got heartbreaking news, that Caleb had cancer.

“Hearing your child has cancer is the worst day of your life,” said mom Lindsey.

“If you go through this, it’s a part of your soul,” shared Caleb’s dad.  

They brought him to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for treatment for osteosarcoma.  Caleb will soon finish his 16th round of chemo.

“We thank Jesus every day for St. Jude, it’s just an absolute godsend,” said Dan. 

Caleb began chemotherapy in April and his dad said he’s grateful doctors detected cancer early on. Despite the difficult medical journey, their 54-member fundraising team, Hammer Strong, has helped keep Caleb motivated, still joyful.

“At the very onset we had an end game, they said it was treatable with chemo with surgery,” said Mr. Hammer. “We talked to families down there and don’t have an endgame, you know they just have to see how it goes.”

Ahead of this weekend's marathon, the team raised about $30,000 and a donation they brought in placed St. Jude over the 20-year-total $100 million milestone. 

“We’ve had tears of sadness throughout the journey, but these are tears of joy,” said Dan. “It’s been a humbling, overwhelming, wonderful, beautiful experience.”

Caleb’s last planned chemotherapy treatments will take place this weekend and the next.

“We’re so thankful for St. Jude to be here and we didn’t have to uproot our lives, it’s in our backyard,” said Lindsey. “We’re forever grateful.”

There will be 17,000 runners participating this weekend and another 3,000 people participating virtually. The Hammer family and St. Jude encourage people to come out and cheer on runners this weekend.

If you feel led to give to St. Jude, click here.

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