Jack Hoffman has been Rex Burkhead’s little buddy for more than a year.
By Randy York
We all know about the power of social media. It can sweep the country faster than you can say facebook or Twitter. One click can create a party line for thousands, and that’s exactly what happened Wednesday when a Team Jack website based in Clay Center, Neb., announced that their little Jack – 13-month-old toddler and cancer patient Jack Lees – was now cancer free. Somehow, somewhere, sometime, someone confused Jack Lees in Clay Center with Jack Hoffman, a 7-year-old pediatric brain cancer patient in Atkinson, Neb.
The next thing you know people are posting congratulations on Jack Hoffman’s “Team Jack” page, about Jack being cancer free. A yearlong network of Jack Hoffman followers and supporters began sharing the good news with everyone they know, and all of a sudden, the Jack Lees facebook page announcement had over 19,000 “likes”.
Andy Hoffman, Jack’s father, reached out to Maggie Jo Lees, Jack Lees’ mother to tell her congratulations on their awesome news, and to tell her thanks for helping to clarify the issue.
“I tried to change the name of our page as soon as I heard about your Team Jack, but if you have more than 200 Likes, it doesn’t let you,” Maggie Jo Lees said in an email to Andy Hoffman, Jack’s father.
What we have here is some great news for one family in Clay Center, some inaccurate news for another family in Atkinson and considerable confusion everywhere in between. The best news is that one Team Jack is cancer free and the other Team Jack so strong and picking up so much momentum in its fight for pediatric brain cancer research that it can actually celebrate its own moment of confusion.
“I emailed Maggie and congratulated her on her terrific news about her Jack. I know what a huge relief that must be,” said Andy Hoffman, whose own Jack is not cancer free, and that’s why the family is working hard to raise funds in that fight.
Maggi Jo Lees is among those praying for Jack Hoffman. “Such a strong, brave little guy,” she wrote to Andy Hoffman. Even though Andy Hoffman and Maggie Jo Lees have clarified the confusion on their respective websites, we’re writing this blog to spread the word of countless others who may not know any differently.
Rex Burkhead, for instance, was in a class Thursday morning when a classmate congratulated him on Jack being cancer free. Nebraska’s All-Big Ten running back was taken by surprise, as he knew that was untrue. Andy spoke with him later, to explain what happened.
Unfortunately, to avoid more confusion, one Team Jack site probably needs to change its name or add a last name to the Team Jack label.
Fortunately, a small army of one Team Jack could celebrate the great news from another Team Jack, and everyone has to be happy about that.
Jack Hoffman is currently on a 60-week chemotherapy protocol, which will end next July. Jack also has a critical MRI on Oct. 24 that will measure the effectiveness of his treatments.
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