Home For The Holidays: Gideon Purchase returns home for Christmas after St. Jude’s stint

Published 6:00 pm Friday, December 22, 2017

Consider it a bit of a Christmas miracle for the Purchase family.
The story of Gideon Purchase, a Northeast Tennessee child battling through neuroblastoma, has spread like wildfire throughout the Tri-Cities and another joyous chapter getting penned this holiday season with his return home for Christmas after spending the past two holiday seasons at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“It’s honestly been hard to return to a normal life,” said Katie, Gideon’s mother. “The hustle and bustle of Christmas shopping, wrapping presents, visiting the family. It’s been an adjustment, but it is so exciting to have Gideon home for Christmas.”
Gary, Gideon’s father, also shared a chuckle during a recent interview with the Elizabethton Star when describing his son’s trip to pick up their Christmas tree.
“Oh, he had a blast,” Gary added.
Gideon’s story first circulated when he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma: stage 4 and high risk.
Over the course of his stay at St. Jude’s, Gideon underwent chemotherapy, surgery, a bone marrow transplant, antibody therapy and radiation therapy.
But during the stay, both Katie and Gary talked about Gideon’s smile and will to overcome. The dedication from the Tri-Cities native was ever prevalent when the family was able to return Gideon back to the area in January of this year, cancer-free.
While times were tough, the Purchases talked about their support back home. From Carter County to Daniel Boone High School, citizens from all across the community were able to provide support to the family during Gideon’s battle.
Members of Southside Christian Church, Gary and Katie both thanked the efforts of all the area churches that assisted during the endeavor. Katie’s extended family at Daniel Boone, where she works, also contributed to the cause, raising $10,000 to help with additional costs encountered during the stay at St. Jude’s.
Gideon’s journey was also a family affair, all across the board with his grandparents taking a forward role in his care, temporarily relocating in order to help support him and his parents during treatment. Gideon’s great-grandmother, according to hospital representatives, has given faithfully to St. Jude for over 25 years, never dreaming it would save her only great-grandbaby’s life.
“We can’t say enough about the support from everyone,” Gary said. “During our stay, we were able to focus on Gideon. The bills, groceries, and everything else … people were just willing to help. It was incredible and something we will always remember. It means so much to see all the support Gideon’s received.”
Even though there’s excitement about celebrating Christmas at home, the Purchases added they miss the kind nature and dedication of the St. Jude’s staff.
“In a way, it really is bittersweet,” Katie said. “The staff at St. Jude’s is world-class. They were so accommodating to Gideon. Anytime we needed something, they were there. The nurses and doctors are like a second family to us. We knew once we were there that Gideon was in the best care.”
And the Purchases were able to provide words of encouragement going through trying times this holiday season.
“No matter how terrible things may seem, know that life will always come back together,” Gary said.
But as far as Gideon’s future is concerned, expect the youngster to partake in some additional Christmas festivities next year. While he may be going through feeding therapy, he’s got a goal next year.
“He’s grandparents’ Christmas cookies, he’ll be ready for those,” Gary said with a chuckle.

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