GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — Jaydon Beaulieu has never been healthy enough for a birthday party. At least, not kind of party you think of, when you look back on childhood with balloons, a fun theme, cake and presents. Most birthdays for Jaydon were either filled with hospital beds, being hooked up to tubes, or being too sick at home to celebrate.

Just after his first birthday, doctors found a golf ball size tumor in his brain.

“He walked in, the doctor, the surgeon,” said Nicole Beaulieu, Jaydon’s mother, “he took off his hat, and said it’s cancer. I went running out. It took two security guards, my husband, and my father in law to get me off the ground. I was numb.”

Jaydon had been having seizures for a while at this point, and his parents had been to one doctor appointment after another to find the cause. They never imagined cancer in such a small little boy.

“A four-hour surgery turned into a ten-hour surgery,” said Nicole about the surgery to remove Jaydon’s tumor, shortly after his diagnosis, “He had a stroke on the table. Within three days the tumor grew and wrapped around the main blood vessels of the brain.”

Jaydon in the hospital
Jaydon in the hospital
Nicole Beaulieu

After the surgery, Jaydon began an intense round of chemotherapy. Things were going better for a while. Then, on Mothers Day, Jaydon took a turn for the worse. His parents say he almost died.

“We were wishing for a miracle,” said Nicole, “My husband came up to him and had a little one on one with him. And I don’t know, that talk worked, because his numbers started to grow a few days later.”

James Beaulieu said that talk was to keep Jaydon fighting. After beating cancer, an infection wasn’t going to take his son away.

“I got right up in there and said Jaydon, this is your dad,” said James, “You’re going to pull out of this. You’re a Beaulieu. You’re a fighter. I know you can do this.”

Jaydon and his father, James, in the Hospital.
Jaydon and his father, James, in the Hospital.
Nicole Beaulieu

The talk worked, and Jaydon was on the road to recovery. He is now a 6-year cancer survivor. However, the journey took a toll. He has had delays in speech and walking, and might sound and look different than other 8-year-olds.

“He’s a little hero,” said Nicole, “He went through the worst and he came out, and he’s still fighting it. He has beat some of the things the doctors said he’d never do. He can walk, it’s not a perfect walk, but he can walk, he has some speech.”

He continued to get serious infections and other sicknesses, which prevented him from celebrating his birthday milestones growing up. Now, after years of medical bills, his parents also couldn’t afford to throw Jaydon the big party he deserved.

So, for his 8th birthday, 13 ON YOUR SIDE threw Jaydon a party. He finally was healthy enough to celebrate.

We surprised Jaydon with a party somewhere he always wanted to go, Chuck E. Cheese. He had pizza, and friends and family, and lots of presents.

“It melts my heart, makes it pound,” said Nicole, “I’m one happy mamma. Seeing him happy, enjoying himself, it’s all worth it.”

Jaydon now has two reasons to celebrate: being 8-years-old, and another year cancer free.

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