NORTHWEST ARKANSAS (KNWA/KFTA) —  For the last 29 years, The Cancer Challenge has advocated and supported world-class cancer care throughout the Northwest Arkansas region.

Through different donors and fundraising events, like the annual golf or trap shoot tournaments, The Cancer Challenge has invested $14.2 million into the local community since 1993.

That funding is spent to help with direct patient services such as treatment, financial and emotional assistance, transportation to and from care, early-detection screenings, bereavement and even clinical trials.

It’s also invested in facilities that offer cancer care programs and services, like Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW). It’s at the children’s hospital where 7-year-old Jake Hudman goes for regular checkups to make sure the childhood cancer he’s already beaten, doesn’t come back.

Jack’s mom Becca Hudman said, “what’s awful about cancer is it does not discriminate.”

Jack was diagnosed with cancer on October 27, 2016, at 16 months old. His parents said a few days before they received his diagnosis, he was acting a little different and they noticed a lump on his side.

“It looked like he had a love handle. Kind of a little bit of like, almost like tougher belly. So we took him into our pediatrician,” Jack’s dad J.D. Hudman said.

The family was immediately sent to Arkansas Children’s (ACH) in Little Rock where they learned Jack had a Wilms Tumor. According to the American Cancer Society, a Wilms tumor is a type of childhood cancer that starts in the kidneys and is the most common type of kidney cancer in children.

“His left kidney had what I can only describe as a volleyball, that was about five pounds. That was complete, it was cancer,” J.D. said.

Jack had stage 3 cancer and had to have his left kidney and a lymph node removed. “It was quite heartbreaking and such a hard time that honestly today, it feels like it was a nightmare,” said Becca.

He started radiation and chemo treatments in November 2016, all at ACH. The family had to travel back and forth from Northwest Arkansas to the Little Rock Hospital until he completed treatment in May 2017.

J.D. said, “the doctors/nurses down at Children’s are literally I would call them angels, just people that are sent from God.”

Though he’s in remission, Jack still has to regularly be seen by pediatric doctors.

“Each day is a gift to you never know what tomorrow is gonna bring,” Becca said.

Rather than traveling all the way to ACH, his check-ups are now at ACNW every 6 months. It’s a resource the Hudmans are grateful to have.

ACNW is able to serve the Northwest Arkansas Community, in part because of donors, like The Cancer Challenge.

“The money [from The Cancer Challenge] is going to something that is going to make the community better it’s gonna make Northwest Arkansas a better place,” said J.D.

The Hudmans have chosen to share Jack’s story due to how accessible The Cancer Challenge has helped make care in Northwest Arkansas.

J.D. said, “we’ve come out on the good side of this terrible ordeal. And we want to make sure that people know like, there’s other people in the community that have gone through this kind of stuff.”