A week after completing a half-marathon with his dad on Catalina Island in late 2016, 14-year-old Jacob Grimstead noticed a golf ball-sized lump near his collarbone.
His parents, Bill and Sarah, examined the mass that seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. They made a same day appointment the following morning and saw pediatrician, Nayana Patel, MD, at the Corona Medical Offices. By 5 p.m., after X-rays and bloodwork, the Grimstead family already had an appointment scheduled for the next morning with Liesl Mathias, MD, pediatric hematologist-oncologist in Fontana, California. Jacob was quickly scheduled for more tests, including scans and a biopsy.
It was exactly a week after his first medical appointment that Jacob received his diagnosis: stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
“I knew I was going to be in good hands,” said Jacob, “but just the fact that I had cancer and that it was stage four, it kind of scared me.”
In the Fontana pediatric hematology-oncology department, Dr. Mathias worked alongside fellow pediatric hematologist-oncologists Kenji Morimoto, MD, and Neha Vaghasia, MD, to treat Jacob. Together, they discussed test results, made plans for Jacob’s treatment, and served as a strong support network for Jacob and his family.
Jacob began his treatment the week of Christmas, 2016.
Olga Rodriguez, respiratory care practitioner, helped the Grimsteads feel more comfortable; she even gifted Jacob her Christmas beanie, which he has to this day. Nick Martinez, Jacob’s pediatric nurse, completed Jacob’s care team and often stayed over his shift to ensure there was consistency in who administered Jacob’s medicine.
After five rounds of chemotherapy – and consistent support from his care team, neighbors, teachers, friends, and track teammates – Jacob is now in complete remission.
“They were the best team that you could wish for,” said Jacob.