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"Team Derek" helps 2 year-old battle an aggressive tumor

SPRINGVILLE, Utah (ABC 4 news) - A Utah couple is fighting a battle no parent ever wants to take on. Jay and Kara Fugal’s 2 year old son, Derek has an inoperable tumor attached to his kidney. But this family says they're getting an overwhelming amount of support, both emotional and physical, that's helping them cope one day at a time.
A Springville couple is fighting a battle no parent ever wants to take on. Jay and Kara Fugal’s 2 year old son, Derek has an inoperable tumor attached to his kidney. But this family says they're getting an overwhelming amount of support, both emotional and physical, that's helping them cope one day at a time.

Derek Fugal is a typical 2 year-old, but his bald head tells a story.

"I think the biggest challenge has been seeing him in pain, and he's been so happy," said his father, Jay.

Jay and Kara Fugal said that's just Derek’s personality, always smiling. But two weeks ago, that was not the case.

"It was a Tuesday night ate dinner at 6:30 everything was normal, he ate a good then an hour later said his stomach hurt," Jay said.

Derek was sick all night, so his parents took him to the hospital early the next morning where nurses rushed him to the emergency room.

"They did a CT scan thinking it might have been an appendix rupture and that's when they found the mass," Jay said.

A tumor the size of a grapefruit on his kidney had ruptured causing him to get very sick.

"When it ruptured it became a pretty aggressive tumor and it began to grow quite a bit," Jay said.

The family spent the next 2 weeks time at Primary Children’s Medical Center where they began chemotherapy. Doctors said Derek has a type of tumor that can be treated, but first the chemo has to shrink it.

"And if everything looks good then it will be operable and we'll go in and take this thing out of there, get rid of it," Jay said.

In the meantime, the Fugals say they've gotten an unbelievable amount of support. Derek's brother and cousin both shaved their heads to look like him. Derek's uncle, Todd started a "Team Derek" gofundme.com page to help the family pay for Derek’s treatment.

"We set that up almost immediately within days of finding out and did that without Jay and Kara knowing because I knew they wouldn't accept it," Todd said.

Thanks to that page spreading from family to friends to complete strangers, the Fugals are getting much needed financial support, and emotional reinforcement.

"Overall we've been very overwhelmed by how many people have reached out and shown their support and love," Kara said.

With that kind of help, this family is confident “Team Derek” will come away with a victory.

Derek went through chemo Thursday, and will have a CT scan in a couple of weeks. If the tumor has shrunk and can be removed, Derek will continue chemo and radiation for another 5 months.

If you'd like to give the family well wishes or donations, click here for their Facebook page, or here for their go-fund-me page.



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