Abraham Cherrix suffers from Hodgkin's disease, a cancer of the lymph nodes. Initially Abraham was diagnosed with a knot on his neck that turned out to be a swollen lymph node full of cancer cells. Further tests revealed that he also had a tumor near his windpipe. Then he made repeated visits to the nearest children's hospital to undergo chemotherapy.
Later in December, Abraham learned there were no more active cancer cells. After two months active cancer cells were spotted again. Now the doctors wanted to give him massive amounts of chemo, plus radiation.
Abraham, who is home-schooled and has a brother who is autistic and a sister who needs back surgery does not wish to go through the sufferings again. Hence Abraham and his parents did a complete research on alternative medicine.
They found that the Hoxsey treatment of liquid herbal supplements and a diet heavy on fresh fruits and vegetables is an excellent alternative. This decision led to the summoning of Abraham and his family to the juvenile court. The hearing mainly was to determine whether the 16-year-old can make his own medical decisions. He lives with his parents and four siblings on Chincoteague, an island off Virginia's Eastern Shore. A social worker had asked the judge to request Abraham to continue conventional treatment.
The judge issued a temporary order mentioning Jay and Rose Cherrix were neglectful for supporting their son's choice to pursue alternatives. Judge Jesse E. Demps also ordered the parents to share custody of Abraham with the Accomack County Department of Social Services.
Jay Cherrix, who runs a kayak business next door to the family's home, was very sad by the court's decision. Mary E. Parker, director of the social services department, said she could not discuss Abraham's case because of privacy laws. On the hand in a similar case, the parents of 13-year-old Hodgkin's disease patient Katie Wernecke won the right in November to make all her medical decisions after a court fight with child welfare officials in Corpus Christi, Texas.
While doctors had recommended chemotherapy and radiation, the child's father favored intravenous vitamin C. According to the health officials, Lymphoma Information Network and the social workers the disease is considered very treatable through conventional means and has a five-year survival rate of at least 80 %. Abraham's family also found that the Hoxsey treatment was initially available in the US but proponents moved their clinic from Texas to Mexico in the early 1960s after repeated clashes with federal authorities.
The parents support their son's decision to follow this approach because they know that their son is mature and thoughtful. Cherrix now administers herbs to his son four times a day, carefully decanting into a small measuring glass. Before Abraham drinks the concoction both father and son pray to God. Jay Cherrix said that he would keep fighting for his son's right to continue with the alternative treatment.