Brayden's Surprise: Boy Battling Cancer Meets World's Best Golfer

Brayden Jones is like many 12 year old boys.

He enjoys being outside.  He likes watching sports.  And he loves golf.

But Brayden's passion for the game began with a trip to the driving range his family will never forget.

"In April 2009 he and dad were at the driving range," explains Lisa Jones.  "They'd gone after school to hit some golf balls, and that was one of Brayden's favorite things to do."

"As we were leaving I started having trouble with breath," says Brayden.  "I'd take 15 steps and I'd have to take a break."

"So later that day he went to the ER and they life-flighted him on Angel One to Arkansas Children's Hospital and diagnosed him with a rare form of leukemia."

Doctors discovered Brayden had a mass in his chest doubling in size every 24 hours. 

"They were saying 'if we would have waited a few more hours we would have lost you,'" explains Brayden.  "And I'm thinking 'how did this happen?  Why and where did this come out of?'"

Difficult questions -- no parent is prepared to answer.

"Having to articulate to a nine year old what this big thing called leukemia is, what the cancer c word is was really overwhelming for us," says Lisa.  "One of the social workers came in and they have a cute Charlie Brown video they play for the kids, and dad and I stood at the back of the bed with tears streaming down our faces, while they're trying to articulate to the kids on their level what this means."

After four days of an intense regiment of chemotherapy the tumor began to shrink, and hope began to grow.

"The first few days I was there my doctor said 'you are going to feel so great after this is all over you are going to be bouncing off the walls,'" remembers Brayden.  "And I said 'oh boy I can't wait for that!'"

With the help of the doctors, nurses and staff at Arkansas children's hospital, the support of loved ones who never left his side, and a passion to one day play golf again; Brayden was determined to beat cancer.

"If there was one day I wasn't feeling good I would just turn on the TV and watch just some shows," says Brayden.  "Like if there was a golf tournament on, I would turn it on there and watch that for a few minutes."

Today Brayden's cancer is gone.  He still makes weekly trips to Arkansas Children's Hospital in Little Rock, and he still gets chemo every week.  But he's just two short months away from finally being finished with treatment.

And the good news doesn't end there.

Click on the video to see Brayden's surprise from the top ranked player on the LPGA tour, Yanni Tseng.

You can also learn more about the Arkansas Children's Hospital on their website, including how you can help raise money for the annual Will Golf 4 Kids golf tournament August 9th and 10th in Bella Vista.

One of the songs in this story was written and performed by local artist Brittany Moore.  Check out the full version of her song by clicking here, or check out her youtube channel to see more of her music.

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