The way life can change in a millisecond is truly remarkable. 

The key, however, is to do your absolute best to build upon the new without fighting the old – no matter how difficult or angry it can make you. 

That’s exactly what “Action” Jackson Dupps’ philosophy is.

The best part? He’s just eight-years-old. 

“When Jack was almost two-years-old he was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of kidney cancer called Wilms’ Tumor,” his mom, Kelli, said. “We heard words we tried to ignore like ‘diffuse,’ anaplastic’ and ‘poor outcome.’ Our world was rocked. Jack’s definition of OVERCOME didn’t ring true for us in this situation. As parents, childhood cancer was never a fear we had or something we thought we would ever have to face. However, not overcoming this was simply never an option.”

The year after Jack’s diagnosis was, as Kelli puts it, pure survival mode. At Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Jack underwent surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation. The subsequent four years after continued with tunnel vision; survival remained their only option. As they grieved the childhood they had planned for Jackson, they also battled to maintain normalcy for their oldest son, Ethan. Ethan is now 13 and is an awesome big brother. 

“Watching Jack’s fight and spirit while he was sick is like nothing we have ever witnessed,” Kelli said. “Today we are five years out of treatment and starting to feel like we might have actually just overcome this storm. Jack is a force. He inspires us every day and has been one of our greatest teachers. He is full of life and we savor every moment together as a family of four.”

Speaking from experience, Kelli says there is no right way or “manual” for trying to keep things together during such trying times. She simply advises others who are facing an uncertain diagnosis to keep moving forward, stay as positive as you can and be kind to yourself. 

“There will be really messy patches,” said Kelly,”so find your tribe and accept their help. They love you, hurt for you and want to help.”

Jackson, now 8, was recently gifted an APEMAN STRONG t-shirt with the words OVERCOME across the front.

“When we had him try it on, I asked him what he thought that word meant,” Kelli said. “He quickly replied, ‘Well, overcoming something is when you face your biggest fear.’ Our boy has an old soul and is wise beyond his years. I had to get a picture. When I saw his smile and that word across his chest, I knew it was no coincidence that this message had found its way to us.”

Seeing Jackson smile in his OVERCOME shirt melted Kelli’s heart and brought tears to her eyes. 

“No single word could better describe his journey,” she said. “He is our miracle and has truly overcome so much.”