Molly's Kids: Hickory 4-year-old battling rare leukemia

Molly's Kids: Hickory 4-year-old battling rare leukemia

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Monday morning, 4-year-old Jake Leatherman left from Hickory for Philadelphia. Yet another road trip. Jake was half-way there in this picture a month ago. He often goes to the Children's Hospital of Philadephia for treatments.

This shark-loving and dinosaur-collecting little boy is battling a rare type of leukemia called JMML (juvenile myelomoncytic leukemia).

It was discovered when he was at the doctors getting a re-check on an ear infection.

A check on an ear infection and the doctor finds rare leukemia? How do so many of these amazing ?#‎MollysKids have virtually no symptoms and then out of nowhere BOOM! A diagnosis that rocks their world? I don't get it.

Crystal says she doesn't get it either. She also didn't get it when the doctor gave the diagnosis. Says she couldn't even pronounce it. The doctor suggested they go see a hematologist.

Extensive tests at Brenner's Children's Hospital in Winston-Salem show a bone marrow transplant is the only hope for a cure.

"It's such a rare form of leukemia," said his mother. "I'm just grateful to anyone who wants to read this and learn about my little Jake."

Today - July 13th - Jake is going to get a central line put in so he can start chemo next week.

His church has set up a "Team Jake" Facebook page >>

Through that page they're selling t-shirts. Lots of photos!

"JMML is so rare," says Crystal. "There's so much doctors don't know and there's not many who specialize either."

Again, Crystal and her husband Wayne decided to have Jake's transplant done in Philadelphia. Looking like it'll be in mid-to-late-August. They'll be there 3-4 months.

Keep us updated, Crystal. And tell your little warrior to keep smiling.


Editor's note: This is about one of #MollysKids, children WBTV Anchor Molly Grantham follows closely on her Facebook page.  It was first published there – which is why it's written in a personal way.  For years Molly has followed the stories of dozens of kids with uphill medical battles. Find this story (and updates on all #MollysKids) here: