St Johns County, Fla. -- Pediatric Cancer affects more than 10,000 children nationwide. Families battling the deadly disease often credit support from family and friends with helping them to make it through such a difficult time. In the case of one St Johns County family, they say a member of their church, Catherine Grimes, who they didn't know- decided to do something special for their son, Luke Bond. He would later become someone special to her.
There's a little box neatly decorated that sits on Luke's dresser at home. It's painted red, white, blue and yellow to match a nick name the now six year old boy has earned over the years.
"I painted it in super hero colors with his name on the top, Super Luke," said Grimes.
There's a simple message written inside of the box; "We love you Luke. Your C.C Family." When he received the box in 2013 it was filled with goodies to help encourage Luke, diagnosed with Leukemia to take his medication.
"My girlfriends and I filled it with little trinkets, quite honestly bribes for this little boy we had never met," said Grimes.
Three years later, she would finally meet that little boy whose story she continued to follow.
"Out of nowhere I'm looking at my class list," said Grimes. "And I was like hmm, Luke? Luke. Then I looked at Luke's last name and I was like oh my stars that's that little boy!"
Alive and well, now a student in Grimes' kindergarten class.
"What a blessing it is to have him here, " she said.
Luke's parents know well what a blessing it is to watch their son walk into class, independent and healthy after countless hospital visits.
His mother, Kristen Bond remembers well the day, the hour, the moment she was told that Luke had cancer and a 50 percent shot at survival.
"That moment, I'll never forget the doctors face or her body language and my husband and my mother-in-law sitting in the room with us, I heard them gasp," said Bond. "And I think I fell to the floor but then I immediately went into denial. No no, you've got it wrong."
The doctors were right. But fast forward three years later, Luke has been cancer free since March of 2016 with no Leukemia cells in sight.
"As a mom that's been through this I just want to spread hope to the families that are fighting because it's such a worrisome ride," said Bond. "But you stay faithful and you lean on your community and family and church and you'll make it."
Bond warns other parents, if you feel something is seriously wrong with your child no matter what a doctor may tell you, get another opinion. She says Luke was given a clean bill of health during a check-up three days before he was diagnosed with Leukemia.
Childhood cancers are at times overlooked or misdiagnosed. Experts say early symptoms are mistakenly attributed to more common illnesses. It’s recommended that parents pay close attention to unusual signs or chronic symptoms. For further details visit the American Childhood Cancer Organization website.