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On December 22, 2015, Kelcey and Jason Sims were given the most devastating news when they were told their youngest son, 22 month-old Eli, had Stage 4 liver cancer that had metastasized to his lungs. To say this news was devastating to them would be putting it mildly. What do you do when you hear life-altering information like this knocks the wind out of you? Where do you turn?
For Kelcey, this was a no-brainer as she began calling her church family and their response was a powerful one. The very next day, a prayer vigil was held for Eli at Barfield Baptist Church, and the church was packed. At a time when everyone should have been busy trying to make those last minute preparations for Christmas, everything was placed on the back burner for one of their own who so desperately needed them. They rallied to the aid of the Sims’ family in their time of need, enveloping them with love and uplifting them with prayers.
For the next nine months, this congregation was there for the Sims family in every way there was, financially, emotionally, and most importantly, spiritually, and they were eternally grateful. These months were filled with numerous hospital stays, horrible reactions from multiple rounds of chemo, trying to juggle quality time with their other children, Noah and Colin, including one bleak time that threatened the foundation of their family. Each day began and ended with prayer. And somehow or another, life went on…
Then on Friday, September 3, the unthinkable happened. Kelcey and Jason were dealt the worst news that parents can ever hear, when oncologists told them ” There’s nothing more we can do medically, but give him medication to sustain quality of life”, and once again, their church family rushed to their side.
Another prayer vigil was held on Sunday, September 5 at Barfield Baptist and this time the response was even more overwhelming. The church overflowed with not only their own congregation, but other churches as well, not to mention friends and even some who didn’t even know the family, but had heard Eli’s story. There were over 350 were in attendance.
As the Song Directors led the crowd in Eli’s favorite hymns, little Eli would run from his mother to the altar where he would just sit and smile, kicking his legs as if he knew everyone was singing to him. To someone who didn’t know, they would never know he was even sick. But inside his little body, cancer threatens his existence. An adult can understand this kind of news, but children aren’t supposed to know the kind of pain that Eli has experienced over the past few months. They don’t understand why they are stuck with needles, or having to stay in a hospital bed and not be able to go out and play. Just one reason of how cancer robs them of their innocence…(Click on green link to see video)
Kelcey spoke bravely to the large crowd,only losing her composure a couple of times as she spoke of her family’s deep appreciation to those who had stood by them through thick and thin. She spoke of scriptures they clung to in desperate times. She talked about their journey thus far, childhood cancer statistics, and scriptures that helped them get through the day.
“Cancer is the leading cause of death in kids under the age of 15. There are 5 billion dollars government funded money set aside for cancer research and only 4% of that goes to childhood cancer. There have only been two chemo drugs made in the past 20 years for children cancer. Eli has had every kind of chemo there is. You may wonder why I’m sharing all of this information with you. You may say to yourself ‘well, my child doesn’t have cancer’. Well, neither did mine before December 22. We lived a normal life. If you’re parents of children, make yourself aware. Don’t ignore everything that they tell you. You have to be an advocate for your child, they cannot speak for themselves.”
Her final statement was selfless one. “If just one child can be saved and brought to the Lord through Eli, Jason and I are satisfied.”
Jason’s spoke as well, offering scriptures that would lead people to Jesus, and offered an invitation to anyone who would accept Christ into their heart at the end. Jason spoke briefly of the time that threatened his family’s foundation, reiterating what his wife had already said, ” Kelcey and I had said that If Eli saved one life, we’d be happy. Well, Eli’s already saved his Dad.”
This service was closed with an invitation and the altar was flooded. It was truly a sight to behold as the tears ran freely down my face…
So, what’s next for Eli? Well, as Kelcey said, they weren’t just going to sit by and watch their son die without searching for cure. ” I will not rest until everything has been tried and everyone has told me no. There has to be something that can be done to save our son.”
Jason and Kelcey left Children’s Hospital on Friday against medical advice on Friday, Sept 3, the same day they were given the dreadful news there was nothing more they could do, because Eli was running a fever and they wanted him to stay to see what was causing it. The Sims had words with their oncologists about this. “After eight months of them poking and prodding my child, they were not going to keep him just because their thermometers didn’t agree with the other one. So we came home and we played and we’re perfectly fine.”
Jason and Kelcey will begin their quest for alternate means to save their youngest son’s life, wherever that path may take them, even if it means leaving the country. It’s what any parent would do and I applaud them for their efforts. Leave no stone unturned, I always say, so you will never look back and have any regrets. They remain steadfast in their faith that there is a cure for their son out there somewhere. And backing them is their strong, tight-knit church family, friends and a community who refuse to give up on Eli.
I’d like to leave you with one of the devotionals Kelcey read as their lifeline, because it speaks volumes. “
Keep your eyes on Me, not only for direction but also for empowerment. I never lead you to do something without equipping you for the task. That is why it’s so important to seek My will in everything you do. There are many burned-out Christians who think more is always better, who deem it unspiritual to say no.
In order to know My will, you must spend time with Me—enjoying My Presence. This is not an onerous task but a delightful privilege. I will show you the path of Life; in My Presence is fullness of Joy; at My right hand there are pleasures forevermore.
May God Bless this family….
Editor’s Note: Eli’s story has touched every part of my heart. If you don’t know this family and you are just reading about it, you may just shake your head and say ” How sad”, but I know this family personally and they are good people. I have watched their trials and tribulations over the past few months and they have overcome every single obstacle that has been thrown their way, and it has made them not only a stronger family, but also brought then closer to God. What is happening to this family is classic textbook of how the devil will do everything in his power to kick you while you’re down to make you doubt your Christian beliefs and then he wins. The congregation of Barfield Baptist are one of the biggest reasons that Jason and Kelcey can get up every morning and do what needs to be done for Eli. And that’s why it is so important to have a strong church family behind you in times of crisis, to help you guide you when you can’t seem to find your way out of the storm. Folks, you can stand alone and know Jesus…but why would you want to? There are people out there who share the same love you do for Jesus and want to be a part of something that can make a difference. Big things can happen in big numbers…
If anyone is interested in keeping up with Eli’s story, they can do so here: https://www.facebook.com/Prayers-for-Eli-Sims-489301211248762/?fref=ts
A fund has been established for Eli. Click here to donate:https://www.youcaring.com/jason-and-kelcey-sims-for-the-their-son-eli-494158/update/525853
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