Teen told he likely had the flu really had stage 4 cancer

Teen told he likely had the flu really had stage 4 cancer

(CBS News) - Right around New Year's, Hunter Brady fell ill with a fever, cough, and some aches and pains. In the midst of a terrible flu season, doctors believed it was another case and sent the boy home with some medicine. But the Tampa-area teen did not respond to the medication and was soon brought back to the clinic.

According to a YouCaring page set up by his family, it turned out he didn't have a case of the flu at all -- instead, he was eventually diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin's lymphoma.

His mom Cheryl first brought him to a clinic where doctors "didn't run any tests and said it was likely a virus," his family said on the fundraising page. When his symptoms continued to progress, doctors thought Hunter was having an allergic reaction to the medication and told the family not to worry and just "let the virus run its course."

The family then took Hunter to his pediatrician, who ordered a CT scan. That's when the family got the devastating news: Hunter not only had a collapsed lung containing a large amount of fluid, but he also had severely swollen lymph nodes, and he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma.

Hodgkin, or Hodgkin's, lymphoma is a cancer that starts in cells of the immune system. The Mayo Clinic explains that it is often treatable with chemotherapy, sometimes combined with radiation.

According to a Facebook post from his mom, Hunter has now undergone three rounds of chemotherapy.

"He did great and we are back home," she wrote. "His levels are up right now, but are expected to drop to zero in the next couple of days. We must be careful with him and keep him in a 'bubble.'"

The family recently held a benefit run to raise money to help with medical bills. After the run, Cheryl posted a note expressing gratitude for all the support her family has received.

"I don't think those words will ever come to me the way that I would like, because I'm still literally speechless," she wrote. "If I would have posted sooner, I wouldn't have been able to control my emotions. Hunter's Run was a blessing! My family and I are very touched by the outpouring from our community. I keep my faith in humanity by seeing people come together at times like this!"

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.