Christmas should be a time of celebration and merriment, but Joshua Berry’s parents are currently focused on their son’s health.
Josh, 15, is a 10th-grader at Long County High School and the son of Sibley and Robert Berry of Glennville. He was diagnosed Nov. 17 with acute leukemia, although the teen began to exhibit symptoms over the summer.
“He’s actually been handling the disease since June and has been hospitalized twice, one time in Tampa, Fla., from June 27 to July 3, and another time in Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital later in July,” Sibley Berry said. “When he was in the hospital during the summer in Tampa, he was diagnosed with blood clots in his lungs and put on blood thinner.”
After that, Josh, who is 5 feet, 10 inches tall and weighs 170 pounds, was given permission by doctors to resume his normal activities. He played football this season, but during a Nov. 16 basketball game, his parents noticed his sluggish performance on the court. Josh admitted he wasn’t feeling well.
He was admitted Nov. 17 to Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah, where a bone marrow test was performed. The results were sent to a medical facility in Atlanta and Josh was diagnosed with acute leukemia.
“When we got him to MHUMC on Nov. 17, he had spiked a fever the night before and his platelets were down to five,” Sibley Berry said.
Josh has since been released from the hospital and is home now, but he travels to Savannah two to three times a week for chemotherapy. In January, the teen will undergo chemo treatments five days a week. Josh is home-schooled now as his illness prevents him from returning to Long County High School.
Sibley Berry had been working at The Doctor’s Hospital of Tattnall but had to quit her job to transport Josh to his treatments. Robert Berry, Josh’s father, is the chief deputy for the Long County Sheriff’s Office.
“We are so thankful and appreciative of those who have helped us. We thank you for your prayers and concern for Josh and ask that you continue to pray for a recovery,” Sibley Berry said.
The family is in need of financial assistance to help cover the cost of gas for trips to Savannah. The Berrys have insurance, but not all of Josh’s medical expenses are covered.
Anyone who wants to help Josh and his family can send contributions to:
Joshua Berry Medical Fund
c/o Glennville Bank
P.O. Box 278
Glennville, GA 30427
Editor’s note: This story has been reprinted with permission from the Glennville Sentinel.