By: Tammy Andrews
Sometimes, bad things just happen to good people. That’s all I know to say to start this story as a beloved Clay County family struggles to cope with devastating, life-altering information over the Christmas holidays that threatens to shake the core of their family foundation.
On December 22, 2015, Jason and Kelcey Sims experienced a parent’s worst nightmare when they were told their youngest son, 22 month-old Eli, had Stage 4 liver cancer that had metastasized to his lungs. Of course, this news would have been devastating at any point in time, but this information came as a total shock to them in the midst of what should have been a normal, happy Christmas holiday season.
Baby Eli had been sick and was admitted to RMC for pneumonia just a few days prior. When Eli showed no signs of improvement, further testing revealed 3-4 masses on his liver. Eli was then transported to Children’s Hospital via ambulance for more testing to find answers on December 21. The devastating news of the advanced cancer was delivered the very next day, and the odds weren’t good.
The grim news sent waves of shock and disbelief and traveled quickly throughout Clay County as residents, church family and friends rallied around this family. A special prayer meeting was held the following night, Dec. 23rd at the Sims’ home church, Barfield Baptist to pray for the healing of Baby Eli and in support of this family. Despite the torrential rain and holiday obligations, the community responded well, coming to the aid of this dear family, and the church was packed.
Throughout this special service, it was easy to see how much the Sims meant to all those in attendance with heartfelt testimonies, beautiful singing, and tears of disbelief as everyone struggled to grasp the disturbing news. At many times, there were more down on their knees in the altar praying than there were in the pews. Constant sobbing and frequent sniffles could be heard within the crowd as even grown men were reduced to tears at the thought of this sweet family’s pain. There wasn’t a dry eye in the church, and I can admit that I was one of them. I was so glad to see that Kelcey and Jason were a part of a such a tight-knit church family such as Barfield Baptist.
Despite the odds, Kelcey and Jason just wanted to bring Eli home to spend Christmas with his two older brothers, Colin and Noah, and their wish was granted. They took their baby home and relished in the Christmas holiday in the comfort of their home. Even with this overwhelming news hanging like a dark cloud over them, the normalcy of home was much-needed and give them a little more time to take in the events that had transpired quickly over the course of the past few days. Everything was a little sweeter and they cherished this time as a family even more as they realized how quickly life can change in an instant.
Christmas morning was a blessing, watching their boys play with their new toys with smiles of joy. Regardless of what happened in the future, nothing could ever take these precious moments away. It was bittersweet…
Please continue to remember the Sims family in your prayers as they will return to Children’s Hospital tomorrow, Monday Dec. 28, for port placement, a liver biopsy, and a plan of action for treatment options of Eli’s diagnosis. This Sims’ family are incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support they have received and just ask that you continue praying for their baby’s healing.
Now, even though this news seems really grim, this story could change at any given moment and the Sims are not letting these odds deter them from their ultimate goal of winning this battle against this horrible disease and seeing their son’s body cancer-free. Eli is young, his body is strong, and he is a little fighter.
So, please share Eli’s story with someone you know will say a prayer for him, because he needs all he can get. That’s how the power of prayers work and miracles happen every day.
A fund was been established at First State Bank in the Eli Sims name, if anyone wishes to donate. Several fundraisers are already in the works as well and I will keep you updated on those at the time.
A Facebook page has been set up to keep up with Eli’s progress and to announce any fundraisers.