AHWATUKEE, AZ - There's a reason we consider our best friends to be family; sometimes a friend can support you in ways your family just can't.
That's the case with Jace Hyduchak and Jackson Dupps. The 6 year olds go to the same school, are in the same class and the same boy scout troop. Additionally, they both love to play with Legos and are passionate about any and all things superhero-related — it's no wonder they had an instant connection.
"They've been through the same struggle, they just understand each other in a way others can't," Jace's dad, George Hyduchak, said.
Over the holidays in 2015, George and his wife, Ann, started to notice bruises on Jace's body that rough-housing couldn't explain. He was tired all the time and finally, one morning, they found blood on his pillow.
A trip to the pediatrician and a blood test revealed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia and he was rushed to Phoenix Children's Hospital for an emergency transfusion.
"It literally was the worst day of our lives, but we're all good now and we're kicking cancer's [butt]." George said.
The Hyduchak's would soon learn of another family in their son's same school who had been through the same battle just one year before.
"One of my girlfriends called and said 'Kelli, there's another one,'" explained Kelli Dupps, whose son Jackson is also recovering from cancer.
"My heart just broke for them because we knew exactly what they were about to go through," Kelli said. "But we're here to show them there is light at the end of the tunnel; there is life on the other side."
Their sons immediately bonded over bald heads and have been buddies ever since.
After 65 days and 58 nights at Phoenix Children’s Hospital, seven trips to the emergency room and 43 (and counting) trips to a treatment center, Jace is strong enough to blow the horn as the official race starter at the Run to Fight Children’s Cancer, Saturday March 11 at Grand Canyon University.