What started as a fever turned into a nightmare for Tamara Hudson when her three-year-old son, Hudson Gatton, was diagnosed with cancer Feb. 1.
Tamara said that Hudson had been running a fever for three days when she decided to take him to the emergency room.
“I thought I was over exaggerating,” Tamara said. “And then I got there and they said ‘We just called a helicopter’ and they took him to Georgetown [hospital].”
By the following day Hudson had been diagnosed with Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Tamara made a post on Facebook with the details of what was going on and immediately felt the support from back home.
“Instantly I think I had three other moms from St. Mary’s County whose children had cancer (when they were younger),” she said. “I had one mom who I adore and talk to all the time (now) drive to Georgetown to bring me information and gifts.”
Tamara said that her cousin set up a GoFundMe page for Hudson and within three hours it had raised $5,000.
“I was crying,” she said. “What really makes me cry is seeing how many good people there are. We are lucky, it sucks that my son has cancer but it could be ten times worse.”
Hudson has been given the best prognosis; the doctor told Tamara that he has the “best type of cancer.” He is currently undergoing intense chemo treatments that will last through November and will continue receiving chemo treatments once a month through April 2018.
Hudson’s face has become familiar to many Southern Maryland residents over the past few months.
He was chosen by Donovan Farrell to be featured in the music video for “True Heroes” sung by local artists.
“He contacted me two weeks (after Hudson’s diagnosis),” Tamara said. “I’m not sure how he found out about us…It’s amazing. Not even just for the fundraising but for the awareness for all these kids.”
The purpose of the song was to raise money for six local children with life threatening diseases, and Hudson was one of those six.
True Heroes is not the only fundraiser that people of Southern Maryland have put together for the three-year-old.
There have been several organized fundraisers for Hudson throughout the past few months.
A fundraiser that her father held in April at Toots Bar raised $17,000.
“I was just crying my eyes out,” Tamara said. “Because that’s crazy. Between that and the GoFundMe I feel good about being able to survive.”
One group that has done a lot for Hudson is the Super Heroes of Southern Maryland.
“They did the True Heroes video,” she said. “They are amazing. They came to our house. They’ve come to half of our fundraisers. They are so good with the kids in the community…He loves them, that’s all my son talks about.”
Tamara is a nurse at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital and is currently taking a leave of absence. She said that her co-workers have also helped her by donating some of their leave to her so that she can attend doctors’ appointments and spend more time at home with Hudson.
“[This has] completely changed my life,” said Tamara. “Before, my job was extremely important. I worked a lot of overtime. I mean it’s nice to have money and go on vacation with your family and everything but looking back, I could’ve been spending time with him. It makes you just realize what’s important.”
After all the help she has received from the community she hopes to one day be able to give back.
“My dream is to open up a cancer clinic [for kids in Southern Maryland],” Tamara said. “Because everyone has to drive to Children’s [National Hospital] or Georgetown [Hospital]. If I can’t do that I want something in this community. Like a foundation or a group that brings food.”
She said that there are no local resources that she has found for families with sick kids. She hopes to bring together the right people to create some sort of resource that can help other families the way the people of Southern Maryland have helped her.
“It’s beyond amazing,” she said. “People can say what they want but when a tragedy happens people really are there for you. It’s just beyond what I ever imagined. I wish I could sit down and thank every single person but there is no way, there are too many. All of this has definitely made me want to be a better person”
Contact Jessica Goodell at firstname.lastname@example.org