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Kids with Courage: Tulsa boy battles most aggressive form of childhood cancer

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TULSA, Okla. - Eight-year-old Jake couldn't wait to start the new baseball season with his teammates.

"He had started up baseball season and practice," said the boy's mother, Aubrey Flowers.

Instead, last February, he was benched by a shocking diagnosis of childhood cancer.

His mom said it all started with Jake complaining of leg pain.

"My husband and I were like 'It's probably growing pains,'" Flowers said. "After a couple of days, it didn't really go away."

The 8-year-old's pain got worse.

"He had started to kind of hobble when he walked," Flowers said.

Jake's mom took him to see their pediatrician right away for an X-ray, because she thought maybe he had a broken bone.

There were no fractures, but Jake did have unusually high blood pressure.

Blood work also showed issues with kidney function, and Jake complained of double vision.

Tests confirmed the family's worst fear.

"They discovered a tumor in his sinus cavity that was pushing on the muscle around his eyes and causing the double vision," Flowers said.

The family was sent to the Jimmy Everest Center.

Jake was diagnosed with the most aggressive form of childhood cancer called Burkitt's Lymphoma.

"It is actually the quickest growing cancer we know of," said Dr. Osman Kahn, Jake's doctor at Jimmy Everest.

And, in Jake's case, cancer cells had spread throughout his body.

"He came in a very sick young man," Kahn said. "We started him on aggressive chemotherapy to attack these lymphoma cells head on."

Jake underwent intense treatment, which made him very sick.

The boy dealt with failing kidneys, infections, painful lumbar punctures and a stay in the pediatric intensive care unit.

But, after 86 days in the hospital, Jake showed signs of progress.

"It has all but melted away, and he has responded very positively to the chemotherapy," Kahn said.

Jake got to go home again, and his baseball team rallied around him.

Jake threw out the first pitch of the team's first game.

"A couple of days ago, he and I were driving, and he said 'Mom, I almost forgot I had cancer,'" Flowers said.

Jake's team of specialists at Jimmy Everest are optimistic.

"His chances of complete success and the tumor of never returning are very, very good," Kahn said.

No news could be sweeter for Jake's mother, in awe every day of her son's bravery.

"He's taken it a lot better than any of us have," Flowers said.

To find out more about the Jimmy Everest Center or if you would like to donate to cure cancer in Oklahoma's children, click here.

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