TAMPA, Fla. — Weeks of feeling tired and short of breath were symptoms 16-year-old Hunter Brady never thought would lead to a cancer diagnosis.
Last month, he learned he was fighting stage 4b Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
Hunter is now undergoing rounds of chemotherapy at St. Joseph’s Children’s Hospital. He’s lost all of his hair and has to spend most of his time in and out of the hospital and then recovering at home.
It was back in November that Hunter started to feel weak, his pediatrician initially telling Hunter he most likely had the flu. But weeks later, when he wasn’t getting better, his family rushing him to the emergency room.
“We weren’t aware at the time his right lung was collapsed and his left lung was 30 percent collapsed he was having trouble breathing,” Hunter’s mom, Cheryl Brady said.
In January, after a barrage of tests, Hunter was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He had a blood transfusion, a bone marrow biopsy, and surgeries to drain the fluid from his lungs and heart.
While Hunter and his family were going through one of the most difficult moments in their life, Hunter was also targeted by a cyberbully. Another teen, he didn’t know, responded to his Instagram post about his cancer diagnosis saying "you deserve cancer".
Seventeen of his classmates even fell victim to bullying after they shaved their heads to support Hunter.
“I told him I really didn’t care what he said... I really don’t,” Hunter said. “He doesn’t know how it feels. So, when he does, he’ll realize and then he’ll feel bad. I hope he does feel bad.”
Hunter’s mom said she couldn’t believe someone would cyberbully her son. But, she says Hunter is strong and has the courage to beat cancer and not let a bully bother him.
“He’s stronger than we are, definitely,” Brady said.
Hunter has several rounds of chemotherapy remaining. He will also have to undergo radiation treatment.
Dozens of friends and family shaved their heads to support Hunter.
"Everybody else’s support helped me get this far. Without them, I don’t know where I’d be. I just know I gotta keep staying strong,” Hunter said. “I’m being mentored by two pastors that told me God is always there and when he told me that I just went along with what he said and I got this far… I’m doing good I’m going to beat it, I ain’t giving up.”
Hunter said once he beats this cancer he wants to begin studies to be a pastor.
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