Justin Chey, 12, fighting cancer whilst helping immigrant family
- Justin Chey works odd jobs, cooks for his family and cares for his grandparents while his mother works around the clock
- But earlier this month he collapsed at school after suffering headaches
- He was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor and has undergone surgery but still faces chemotherapy
- His school and community in Des Moines, Iowa is rallying around him and his mother to support his care
By Daily Mail Reporter
PUBLISHED: 09:58 EST, 22 October 2013 | UPDATED: 11:52 EST, 22 October 2013
Tragic: Justin Chey, who has held his family together, has been diagnosed with a brain tumor
A 12-year-old boy who has helped keep his hard-up immigrant family afloat while caring for his sick grandparents has tragically been diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor - after keeping quiet about the symptoms for months.
Justin Chey, from Des Moines, Iowa, manages to work small jobs between attending school, cooking meals, preparing insulin injections for his diabetic grandfather and looking after his grandmother, who has Alzheimer's - all while his mother, who is originally from Cambodia, works night shifts as a school custodian.
But on October 10, after suffering severe headaches, Justin collapsed in class at Hiatt Middle School and tests revealed he has a cancerous tumor, a medulloblastoma, inside his brain.
After the tumor began affecting his facial muscles and vision, he underwent emergency surgery. He will begin chemotherapy in two weeks but doctors said they do not yet know his prognosis.
They have yet to determine whether the tumor, which is situated in the lower part of his brain, has spread to his spine, the Des Moines Register reported.
Throughout the past few months, Justin never let on the extent of his painful headaches and insisted he needed to go to school.
Devoted: His mother, Kelly Chey, who is originally from Cambodia, works the night shift as a custodian and Justin has taken on cooking and caring for his grandparents, while also picking up odd jobs
Proud: Kelly, who moved to the U.S. in the 1980s, said she is proud of her son's hard work and modesty
And the surgery on October 15, his family was stunned by the outpouring of support from his schoolmates - who have said Justin is the kindest kid they know.
'Justin is one kid who is liked by everybody,' his teacher Kim Bata told the Register. 'He's a sensitive, caring kid. All the kids agree: He's never said a mean thing about anyone else.'
His mother Kelly Chey, who came to the U.S. with her family in 1984, has a full-time job with the school district but has struggled after splitting with her husband eight years ago.
Justin's father stays in touch with him but lives out of state and cannot afford to travel to Iowa.
Kelly said affording to live been possible with the help of her son, who has volunteered for odd jobs in his neighborhood to help with the income.
Until his disease took over, Justin slept on the family's living room floor but now has been moved to the largest room.
His friends and teachers have visited him there, asking him what he wants for his birthday on October 31, when he will turn 13 - but he says he wants nothing.
Concerns: 12-year-old Justin collapsed while in class at Hiatt Middle School, pictured, two weeks ago
Diagnosis: He was found to have a brain tumor and underwent surgery at the Mercy Medical Center
He smiled as his teacher added: 'Don't worry buddy. We're getting meals, we're getting money for your mom... you don’t need to worry about anything.'
Other classmates have made him get well cards or brought over home-cooked food for his family. School officials are also collecting money, aware that Chey will have to take time off work for Justin.
'I've told him: I'm here for you,' Chey said. 'Now, everyone is here to support you.'
How can you help Justin? Students and staff at Hiatt Middle School are collecting meals, birthday presents, party favors and money for Justin and his family.
Donations can be delivered to the school, 1430 E. University Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa or for more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 242-7774.
MOST WATCHED NEWS VIDEOS
MOST READ NEWS
Revealed: Newlywed 'thrill killers' used Craigslist to lure a married man for sex and 'then stabbed him 20 times because they've always wanted to murder someone together'
Miranda Barbour, 18, arranged to meet married engineer Troy LaFerrara in parking lot for sexHer husband, 22-year-old Elytte Barbour, was hiding under blanket in backseat ...
- Jason Beckman trial: Megan Fox joke led son to shoot his father dead
- Terre des Hommes creates CGI girl called Sweetie to entice child porn predators
- U.S. has overtaken Saudi Arabia to become the world's biggest oil producer on jump in output from shale
- Danny Fleming: Meet the man with the world's biggest collection of bagpipes (and yes, he is married - just)
- Toddler, 3, walks a mile for help after 'her father murdered mother in Florida' as police launch manhunt
- Want to party without going out on the town? Have a disco in your bath!
- California man caught on camera drugging and raping A DOG
- Married rabbi, 30, arrested at Jewish youth centre in Beverly Hills for 'sexually molesting boys' in New York
- Maryville teen Daisy Coleman writes powerful blog post about how rape ruined her life and drove her to suicide
- Gang member husband eyed as main suspect in the disappearance, death of Florida mother and her two children
- The poignant moment LAX paid tribute to TSA officer shot dead by gunman last week as hundreds of US airports also fall silent
- Prince George christening: Well-wishers camp outside St.James Palace
- NFL should force Washington Redskins to change controversial name
- Rihanna 'asked to leave Abu Dhabi mosque'
- Ryan Ferguson looks forward to his future as a free man
- How being humiliated can make you feel DIRTY: Psychologist unravels why some people suffer from 'mental contamination'
- 'I did not raise him that way': Mother defends 'homophobic' son, 16, accused of setting 'agender' teenager on fire on bus because he was wearing a skirt
- Chiwetel Ejiofor felt connected to his '12 Years a Slave' character
- Paul Walker's younger brother Cody starts to clear up late actor's belongings
- 18 foot long oarfish sea creature found off California coast: photo
- Stripper: JUSTIN Bieber's touch made me giddy
- France outraged as leaked NSA documents reveal the US spied on more than 70 million phone conversations in one month
- Inside the polar bear prison in northern Canada town, Churchill
- Ke$ha banned from performing in Malaysia and 'threatened with imprisonment'
|PHOTOS: Plastic Surgery Celebrity||Awkward family photos|
|UPDATED: Faces of Meth||PHOTOS: Celebrities all a-Twitter|
- Extreme bungee jumpers attach metal hooks on harness to their SKIN before jumping 250feet off platform
- Hundreds of mourners attend funeral of Glasgow helicopter crash pilot one week after the accident which killed nine people
- World's thinnest ever condoms created in Japan which are just one sixth of the width of human hair
- First-ever Palestinian sex shop opens online to spice up marriages after being given the go-ahead by sheikhs
- Boy, eight, left with rare sleep disorder after having swine flu jab which makes him nod off up to seven times a day
- Plane delays: Flights delayed by up to three hours at airports across Britain because of 'technical problems'
- Bags of money! Cath Kidston set for £250million flotation after huge success of those floral print bags
- 'God, thank you for the gift of Madiba!': Huge crowds gather for Nelson Mandela in South Africa for a second night as three US presidents prepare to fly in for the funeral
- Dramatic moment three Lamborghini supercars worth £650,000 burst into flames after high-speed crash on motorway in Malaysia
- Property with panoramic sea views for sail! Architect designs incredible floating home... but you may want to decamp to dry land in a storm