Jeffrey – The Brown Family

jeffrey brown
Jeffrey was chosen to be a Relentless Detroit Kid in 2013. Here is his story and an update on how he is doing today provided by his mother Michelle.

Jeffrey’s story started in January of 2013 when he started becoming nauseated whenever he would try to eat. Food never had time to get to his stomach. After doctor’s visits, blood draws & x-ray’s they prescribed a reflux medication, since all the tests didn’t show anything wrong at the time.

He couldn’t hold food down, so he dropped weight to anorexic levels. In March of 2013, heavy nose bleeds started along with the continued nausea. On May 9th of that year, he came home from a travel league soccer game, complaining about his eye twitching and how it was really bothering him.

I looked into his eyes and saw that his eyes would repeatedly bounce uncontrollably when he looked down and to the left.

I took him in to see his doctor and was sent by the pediatrician to C.S. Mott Hospital ER. Jeff remembers his vision went double and the eye bouncing — nystagmus — would occur whenever he looked in all 4 directions. One week later Jeff underwent a frontal craniotomy to biopsy his brain tissue. When the results came back, Jeff’s diagnosis was Primary CNS diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. This is a type of brain cancer found in 60 year old and older adults and one that has never been treated on a pediatric level at Mott.

The doctors had to consult outside cancer teams for the best treatment protocol through St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. Jeff’s vision had not only gone double, if he looked even in the slightest direction down, to either side or up the eye bouncing would start. He had lost control of the eye muscles. He could barely keep his eyes open. At one point Jeff lost all vision in the periphery and could only see images the size of a paper towel roll.

Chemotherapy does not effectively cross the blood-brain barrier. Doctors chose to insert a chemo port called an Ommaya Reservoir to inject the chemo directly into his brain.

jeffrey brown and family
In the same week that all of this was occurring one of Jeff’s best friend’s mom talked to me about Relentless Detroit. Honestly, I was so shell-shocked from all of the things going on that I couldn’t wrap my head around what RD was all about, I was just in survival mode.

Tommy, one of Relentless Detroit’s board members, showed up to meet us during Jeffrey’s 13th birthday party that we held on the grass in the courtyard between Old Mott Hospital and Main Hospital. One thing I could sense at that time was that there was a genuine sincerity with Tommy. I did not have a clue back then what the Lord would do through Relentless Detroit.

Relentless Detroit became a support system that is unparalleled beyond anything any of us could possibly conceive.

Jeffrey has been in remission since December 2013 and through the grace of God, has been dominating the cancer that once stopped our entire family in our tracks.

Relentless Detroit helped to fulfill a bucket list wish for Jeffrey that was to meet the Duck Dynasty crew. The Lord moved mountains to get our family to Wisconsin where we were able to sit in on a book signing the Robertson’s were doing.

As soon as the Robertson’s laid eyes upon Jeffrey, Phil Robertson said, “Come here, young man, so we can pray for you!” Phil, Kay and Si immediately went to bended knee, joined hands with Pastor Joe Wilson, Jeffrey and Ben to pray for Jeffrey.

Jeff has been able to realize another one of his life’s dreams through Make-A-Wish. He was able to become scuba diving certified. Relentless Detroit helped Ben, Jeff’s older brother, become scuba certified as well so that my boys can explore the depths of the ocean together.

Because of his ongoing battle with nystagmus, Jeff has chosen to stop playing soccer for now and join the men’s cross country track team at his high school.

He’s also been volunteering at C.S. Mott’s “Game Day Experience” every Wednesday throughout the summer. He has continued to do well in school and even kept up a 4.0 GPA throughout all of the chemo and post-chemo because his career goal is to become a pediatric oncologist at Mott.

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