A type of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma that most often occurs in young people aged 12-30.


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Hi my name is Jonathan. I was 15 and a normal teenager, who loves to play basketball and skateboard when I found out I had cancer. 2 weeks later I turned 16 and here is my story.

On February 22,2001 I went into surgery because the Doctors thought I had a hernia but when they got in it wasn't that at all they found this mass in my intestine. The doctors removed 12 inches of my intestines which at that time they just weren't sure what is was. On February 28,2001 they told us it was Burkitts none of my family knew what to say. The Doctors then told us as large as the tumor was (the size of a grapefruit) we were looking at 6 - 12 months of chemotherapy. On March 2, 2001 when they did my CT Scan, Blood Scan and Bone Scan, the doctors came in my room and were all excited and happy with good news. They said the surgeon did a great job and it appears he removed all the cancer so now I will only have to receive 7 chemotherapy treatments. On April 24, 2001 was my last treatment now they will repeat my Scans and remove my Port. This is an article our local paper ran. Any one wishing to talk to me about my experience please e-mail me I would love to talk to you.

God Bless,

Jonathan Griffis Ghstbstr@atlantic.net

The following is the article from the Bradford County Telegraph
© Bradford County Telegraph 2001

Jonathan Griffis, a local teenager, was diagnosed with cancer on Feb. 28, and his parents and his faith are helping him through a tough situation.

Local teen deals with a tough situation-

Telegraph Staff Writer

Jonathan Griffis, a local teenager, was diagnosed with cancer on Feb. 28, and his parents and his faith are helping him through a tough situation.

"My family has been worried, but we're doing okay," Jonathan had to say at the local hair salon, Illusions, where his mom was having her hair cut short to live up to the agreement she made with her son.

"I decided that when he had to cut his hair because of the chemo I was going to have my hair cut and donate it to Locks of Love (an organization that provides wigs for children who lose their hair because of cancer)," said Diana Crawford, Jonathan's mother.

Jonathan had been feeling ill earlier this year, so on Feb. 22, he went to the emergency room at Shands at Alachua General (AGH) in Gainesville, Florida. They had noticed a mass in his stomach. The emergency room doctor thought at first it was a hernia, so he called on the on-call surgeon for consultation.

The plan was to use drugs to relax his stomach so what they thought was a hernia could be pushed back in. That did not work and it was planned, on agreement with the family, for exploratory surgery.

While in surgery a grapefruit-size tumor was found where the small intestine connects to the large intestine. The tumor had to be removed and with it came a section of his intestines.

On Feb. 28 Jonathan and his family found out what the mass was, cancer. Not only cancer but a rare form, Burkitt's Lymphoma, a form of cancer that has only about 100 new cases a year. This cancer is most common in males and tends to occur most often in pediatric patients.

"I think everyone's heart stopped, just like it did after the surgery when that doctor came out to speak to us," said Crawford, his mom.

Jonathan's life was changing, he had a nine day hospital stay at both AGH and Shands at the University of Florida (UF). Jonathan's cancer had been caught in the first stages, but he would have to undergo chemotherapy.

On March 3, he came home for the weekend. He returned to the hospital on March 7, to have a Port-a-Catheter surgically implanted. This tube would tap into a main blood supply at his heart and would be used for blood tests and to deliver the medicines used in the chemotherapy treatments he would receive the next several weeks.

Jonathan, who loves to play basketball and had been athletic, was now very sick and very tired. "The chemo makes me tired a lot, I don't feel like doing much," Jonathan said.

Jonathan had been attending Bradford High School (BHS) but because his illness caused him to miss school, he was put into the home schooling program. "The school has been good about giving me a visitor's pass so that I can still see my friends and teachers," said Jonathan.

A couple of weeks ago Jonathan started his chemotherapy and he was told that he would lose his hair. That is when his mom made the deal with her son that when he lost his hair, she would have her long hair cut short and donate it to Locks of Love. Recently Jonathan's hair started to fall out and it was decided to cut his hair short and his mom made her appointment to do the same. Jonathan said that he had never had very short hair and it was going to take some getting used to. His mom thought that her short hair would probably make it easier to get dressed for work of a morning.

Jonathan is dealing with what is considered a tough situation even for adults, but he says his faith has helped him cope. He is a member and active participant at Victory Revival Center.

"My church's youth group has a booth at the fair to raise money for our trip to Tennessee this summer for a retreat," said Jonathan. He plans to spend a little time at the booth to help support his youth group's efforts. "I get tired, but I hope to spend as much time as I can helping."

April 2, started a series of chemo that lasts longer than any previous treatments he has done. The treatment, which lasts several hours, is administered intravenously. His family and friends are hoping for the best.

"They have an address book that patients can look through at the treatment center. I was surprised to see other kids in Bradford that have cancer," said Crawford, Jonathan's mom.

She admitted that she did not know that much about cancer and treatments before this started, but since has educated herself through the internet, doctors and talking with others.

"There is lots of information on the internet. I just typed in 'Burkitt's Lymphoma' and got tons of information," said Crawford.

Two sites that helped her were www.burkitts.org and www.locksoflove.org, the latter website is what helped her with the information she needed to donate her hair to the organization that makes wigs for kids going through cancer treatments.

"This changes everyone's life involved. We appreciate everyone for their prayers, and I appreciate the doctors, nurses and staff at AGH and UF for all they've done," said Crawford.

If everything goes well, April 28 will be Jonathan's last treatment. Jonathan is looking forward to going back to his normal life. He said, "This has been hard. I would hate to have this happen to anyone."

© Bradford County Telegraph 2001


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