Wednesday, June 19, 2013

JTSF Rockstar | Colby Hoch (June)

Written by Judy Hoch, Colby’s mom

Colby was a lot of fun. He loved to go fishing, camping and to the beach. He was fascinated with golf. In fact, he would pass time by watching golf on TV. He thought the golf hats the players would wear sometimes were pretty cool. Whenever we played miniature golf, he would never wait for us. Instead, he would just go on to the next holes because he didn't want to wait for us and because he liked playing so much!

Colby had such a beautiful smile and a wonderful personality. He would break out into a little dance with his feet when he was happy.  He liked to turn up the music real loud and dance in the kitchen if a good song came on. He really loved The Power Rangers, Spiderman, Batman, and Thomas the Train. He enjoyed arts and crafts, and cooking with mom and Katie. He also liked to play in the snow.


My son was diagnosed with Stage IV Neuroblastoma.

Initially, we thought Colby had a virus because he had a fever at night and it would go down during the day. On the 2nd night he came into bed with us and we heard him make a noise when he was breathing. A chest x-ray was read and they told us it was pneumonia. Days into the antibiotic they had given him, he wasn't getting better, but instead he was getting worse.

Another x-ray showed it was not pneumonia. Colby was admitted to Lehigh Valley Hospital and they discovered a tumor on his adrenal gland. They told us we could not be treated there. We had the choice to go to either CHOP or Hershey – we chose Hershey.

Colby received six months of chemotherapy at Hershey. We were home only 21 days total during that time. Between his 3rd and 4th treatment we flew to LA Children's Hospital to have his bone marrow harvested.


After the first six months at Hershey, we went to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to have his bone marrow transplant. That lasted six weeks. Thankfully for many families, Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital now has the facilities and technology to do these transplants without sending patients to other hospitals. But when we were treated, that was not the case.

Within the next three months we had several admissions to CHOP when he became sick. After that, we returned to Hershey and the MIGB scans still showed tumor cells at his original tumor site. That was removed, and we did three months of Retin A treatments.

Colby did not eat for nine months after his transplant. He was hooked up to Hal & Lipids at night. It was a two-year journey of treating his cancer. Then he finally had six months where he was just a kid! He was going to preschool and living a fun kid life before he relapsed. Colby passed away less than a week and a half after his relapse. 


According to Colby

  • No matter what you go through, don’t complain because there are people going through worse things than you
  • Courage is being brave enough to do what you have to do even though you are scared to do it.
  • When you are put in a bad situation, there will always be people there who help you through it and they will become lifelong friends and family to you for having been there for you.
  • Always be helpful to others and treat them how you would want to be treated. 
  • When you greet someone with a smile it will make a difference. 
  • If you are stuck in the hospital for six weeks in a bone marrow transplant, a Power Ranger Sword hidden under your pillow sure does even the playing field when doctors and nurses keep coming in poking you! 
  • Always look for the positive when you’re having a hard time finding it. It’s there – you just haven’t looked in the right place yet. It’s waiting for you to find it sometimes. 
  • If you are thrown into a bad situation, do as Colby told us… make new friends! 
  • When you pay attention to what is going on around you, the answers are usually right there. And when you realize that what you see going on around you could one day happen to you, try to be brave. If you are brave, you’ll help your mom and dad to be brave too.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask questions, because that is how you learn. 
  • Know the difference between your soul and the sole of your shoe. This is very important because your soul is what goes to heaven when your sole stays behind with your shoes (important Colby lesson learned!). Be sure you know what your soul is, and know the souls of those around you, so that one day you can all find each other. 
And when you know all that, it isn’t so hard to have courage to let yourself go on to the next journey in life.

I know when it's my time to cross over, Colby will be there waiting for me and it will be like we didn't miss a day apart. I will know his soul and he will know mine. We had a long talk about what your soul is and how it is everything that makes you "you", and how it would be easy to find each other knowing each other's souls like we do.

I hope that one day we find a cure for pediatric cancer. And we'll just do what we have to do to support those who are trying to find a cure. For the Kids! We are thankful for the blessings that came along the way during Colby's journey. 

- Judy Hoch (Colby’s Mom) 

And Judy we are thankful for you, Colby and your entire family! You’re an inspirational woman and Colby’s love and life continues to motivate and teach us new things. Thank you, love you! 

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