11-year-old boy battled cancer at St. Jude in Memphis, returns home to warm welcome from neighbors

Local News

MACKINAW, Ill. (WMBD) — Courtney and Daniel Fry, the parents of 11-year-old Reed Fry, call their son a fighter. In April of 2019, Reed was at a baseball game. He played for a travel team called the Warriors.

Suddenly, Reed got a headache during the game. His mother said she thought it was a concussion, but never anticipated the news she received next.

They immediately admitted him into the hospital and it was a couple days later that they removed the tumor and let us know that it was cancer.

Courtney Fry, Reed’s Mom

From that day forward, Reed’s life changed and so did his family’s. He stayed at OSF HealthCare until May 2019, then he was transfered to St. Jude in Memphis. His mother came with him.

While Reed received further treatment out-of-state, he and the rest of his family were separated for 11 months. Reed’s dad said it was an incredibly tough year.

Both mom and Reed, they make our engine run…

Daniel Fry, Reed’s Dad

Courtney said Reed was very strong during his treatments.

“I was expecting the absolute worst when we would go through chemo and all that and he just, he’s a rockstar he just handled it better than I think any adult could have handled it,” she said.

On March 20, 2020, Courtney and Reed received good news.

“To hear the words you get to go home was just a huge relief,” Courtney said.

They packed their bags and got on the road headed back to Mackinaw. The family was was ecstatic to be reunited.

“Can’t explain the joy that came over all of us,” Daniel said.

Reed did not know that a surprise awaited him back home. Initially, his family wanted to have a homecoming gathering to celebrate his return. Due to restrictions and mandates related to COVID-19 the gathering was not feasible. So neighbors and strangers put their heads together and came up with another plan.

To show support and love all while practicing social distancing, the Mackinaw community planned a parade. Thursday, over 50 cars drove past Reed’s home honking horns, waving and showing off hand-made signs. Police officers and firefighters also drive by with their sirens and lights on.

Reed sat in his chair watching with his family huddled around him. His parents said they did not know everyone who participated, but were grateful nonetheless.

“The support from Mackinaw has been wonderful. I can’t thank these people enough for the time and generosity they’ve shown to us and the loving and the prayers,” Daniel said.

Reed said he is happy to be home with his family. He adds that what he looks forward to most is not going to the hospital everyday.

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