Custody trial for Tampa toddler taken from parents during cancer battle underway

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A trial to determine whether two Tampa Bay area parents will regain custody of their son, who’s battling cancer, got started at 9 a.m. Monday.

Joshua McAdams and Taylor Bland-Ball, the parents of 4-year-old Noah McAdams, made global headlines in April when they refused chemotherapy for their son after he was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia, which affects blood and bone marrow.

The parents told 8 On Your Side in May how they vehemently opposed this form of cancer treatment. Instead, they preferred a more organic approach to healing, one that didn’t include chemo. 

“You were trying to treat him with herbs, other plants?” Assistant Florida Attorney General Kenneth Becks asked.

“We gave him tea,” and other alkaline foods, Joshua McAdams said.

“The first step of healing is benefit within and being in a positive state of mind,” the father said.

Then, when the couple sought a second opinion for their son’s diagnosis, they traveled with him out of state. This resulted in a missing child alert and prompted a nationwide search originating in Hillsborough County.

Law enforcement tracked down McAdams and Bland-Ball in Kentucky with Noah. The family returned to Tampa Bay, and his parents lost custody.

His father said in court how the couple “wanted to avoid chemotherapy.”

Earlier this year, a judge ordered immediate chemotherapy for Noah.

For months, the child’s grandparents have had temporary custody.

Noah’s mother and father are allowed at his medical appointments and treatments and supervised visits.

A relative, Joyce Bland, appeared in court Monday afternoon and expressed her disdain to holistic approaches.

The custody trial is expected to last two days before Judge Thomas Palermo.

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