9-year-old cancer survivor on road to recovery, working to organize non-profit with family

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LAYTON, Utah (ABC4 News) – JP Gibson recently drank his last chemotherapy drink and now he’s celebrating by ringing the cancer-free bell.

“It’s really fun for all the cancer kids to ring the bell because they just get to express all their feelings right then,” says cancer survivor JP Gibson. “And they’re like, ‘No more chemo, yay.’”

Nine-year-old JP says he was diagnosed with leukemia at two and a half years old. After a complete remission of more than two years, the cancer came back.

It’s now been two years since the cancer reappeared and for the second time in his short life, JP is cancer-free.

“I feel great,” JP Gibson says.

While JP Gibson is now in remission for the second time, his parents say because the treatment used is so new, JP may have some side effects, but they are praying for a speedy recovery.

Playing baseball with his family, JP says playing sports is something he’s passionate about. And when he was in the hospital or hooked up to iv’s at home, it wasn’t always something he was able to do.

But when he watched sports or was able to play, it helped him keep going.

This seven-and-a-half-year journey has been difficult on JP’s whole family.

Recognizing the difficulty among their own family and others, JP’s parents, Josh and Megan Gibson say cancer patient’s siblings are affected by this hardship, too.

“They see a lot of attention on the kid that has cancer,” Megan Gibson says. “They come home from the hospital with prizes and toys and things, and the kids are dropped off at the neighbor’s for another treatment.”

In an effort to help ease the neglect many cancer patient’s siblings feel, the Gibsons say they are working on creating a non-profit organization, 4th Level Sports, that will pay for patient’s siblings’ extracurricular sports activities.

“That will help their kids feel like they have a team and something they can keep going through to keep them involved in their lives,” Megan Gibson says, “so they don’t feel like they’re missing out on even more of their life because of their sibling’s cancer diagnosis.”

Not only will it help siblings stay involved, but it will help ease the financial burden many parents experience.

Recognizing not every family’s child or sibling will win their battle against cancer, the Gibsons say they are grateful for JP’s recovery and hope to help those suffering.

“We just want to be involved,” Josh Gibson says. “We want to give back as many ways as possible.”

“A lot of people have helped me through my trials, I figured I might be able to help people, too,” JP Gibson says.

Throughout JP’s journey with cancer, he signed a one-day contract with the Utah Jazz, has grown an Instagram following and along with his family, helped lobby Congress for pediatric cancer funding.  

Through these experiences, they hope to bring awareness to kids with cancer.

Josh and Megan Gibson say a lot of people ask them how they’ve gotten through the experience of having a child with cancer and they say:  

“We got through this because we had to,” Josh Gibson says. “We had no other option.”

“We didn’t have a choice,” Megan Gibson says. “This is the cards we were dealt.”

While they can’t change what they’ve had to endure, they are choosing to focus on the positive and serve those who are in need of an extra hug or visit at Primary Children’s Hospital.

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