Jacob’s journey gives special meaning to UMass Medicine Cancer Walk

By Bryan Goodchild and Kristen O’Reilly

UMass Medical School Communications

August 23, 2013
  Jacob, an 8-year-old leukemia survivor, is living proof that the research and clinical care at UMMS and UMass Memorial make a difference in the lives of cancer patients and their families.
  Related links on UMassMedNow:
A full-circle journey for cancer survivor
Buy or service your car at Harr and support the UMass Medicine Cancer Walk


For Jennifer and Michael Hooker, the importance of the UMass Medicine Cancer Walk is personified in the bundle of energy that is their son, Jacob. The 8-year-old leukemia survivor is living proof that the research and clinical care at UMass Medical School and UMass Memorial Health Care make a difference in the lives of cancer patients, both young and old.

“He used to look forward to going to the hospital because at UMass, they made him feel out-of-this-world special,” said Jennifer Hooker. “I don’t know if it would have turned out the same had we gone elsewhere.”

The 15th annual UMass Medicine Cancer Walk will take place on Sunday, Sept. 29, at 10 a.m., starting on the campus green. All proceeds from the walk support research and care at the Cancer Center of Excellence.

Jacob was diagnosed with leukemia when he was 3 years old, after he went to the doctor’s office to understand why he was having trouble walking across the living room floor. While his parents were understandably devastated to hear the news, Jacob’s positive attitude throughout treatment helped get them through the tough times.

“He’s a very resilient kid,” said Michael Hooker. “If he has to go to the hospital or if he has to take medicine, he just goes with the flow because of all he’s been through.”

After three and a half years of treatment, Jacob is now a typical, active sports lover who plays basketball and baseball, and enjoys horsing around with his two older sisters. Learn more about his journey in this video feature.

For more information about the UMass Medicine Cancer Walk, or directions on how to start a fundraising team, call 508-856-2589 or send an email to cancerwalk@umassmed.edu.

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