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Parents of cancer-stricken boy in Tampa get victory in court

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The parents of Noah McAdams were back in court Tuesday hoping for good news, and they got it.

They asked the judge to grant them more time with their gravely ill son.

For nearly two months, the parents have been limited in their visitation hours. They are only allowed two per week after losing custody.

Noah is currently in the care of his grandparents who live in Tampa Bay. 

Meanwhile, the toddler’s  parents are allowed to be present during his cancer treatment. However, the one thing they’ve wanted more than anything else – more moments with Noah. 

The judge heard their request and talked about at length with the mother and father during a closed-door hearing on Tuesday in downtown Tampa.  Late that afternoon, a ruling was made.

.The judge said yes.

However, he would not release specifics to members of the media.  Reporters were not allowed in the room where the court hearing was held.. The judge cited concerns with privacy issues and possible HPPA violations since Noah’s health would be discussed.

When the hearing finally adjourned hours later, the judge shared his decision with the parents. The  mom and dad were pleased, saying they felt like they were “headed in the right direction.”

The parents’ attorney, Brooke Elvington, denied all interview requests and would not provide details pertaining to the increase in visitation hours. She would only say that the mom and dad were happy.

Noah’s parents made global headlines in recent months when they said no to chemotherapy for their son after he was diagnosed with lymphoblastic leukemia, which affects blood and bone marrow, 

The mom and dad told News Channel 8 back in May that they vehemently opposed to this form of cancer treatment. Instead, they preferred a more organic approach to healing – one that did not include chemo. 

But, when the parents sought a second opinion for their son’s diagnosis, they traveled with him out of state,prompting a nationwide search originating in Hillsborough County.

Law enforcement tracked down Joshua McAdams and Taylor Bland-Ball in Kentucky with their three-year-old. The family came back to Tampa Bay, and the parents lost custody as the judge ordered immediate chemotherapy for Noah.

This controversial case has been winding its way through the court system in Tampa ever since. The parents have long since said, they’d never put their son in danger. All they wanted for him is a clean bill of health and a happy child.

At the heart of it all, there is little Noah fighting for his life. He received chemotherapy Tuesday morning.

News Channel 8 asked Noah’s father to describe how his heart felt. “It’s dropped and it’s picking back up, and it’s still pumping blood. I love my son, and I’m going to be there for him.”

Ultimately, mental health experts say it’s a win for Noah, as more time with mom and dad helps in healing  

“I honestly can’t imagine not being with my child during the worst time of his life,” said Jennifer Stracick. The Pinellas mom has spent a lifetime in social work helping children and families in trying times and trauma.

She’s been watching this case closely and says there’s no doubt Noah’s mental well-being and overall health would benefit if his parents were granted additional visitation hours during his vigorous chemotherapy regimen. 

Children are biologically bound to seek out mom and dad, especially in times of illness says Jennifer. “You always want to go to home base, to mom and dad,” she said.”When you’re sick, you always want mom.”

The parents will be back in court July 9th.


PREVIOUSLY REPORTED:

A Hillsborough County judge ruled on Wednesday that 3-year-old Noah McAdams must undergo chemo as he continues to fight a recent cancer diagnosis.

The child’s parents were hoping for a more organic approach to treatment, one that includes medical-grade cannabis, vitamins and a strict diet.

While the judge ruled that alternative treatments are permissible, the primary course of action, she said, must include chemotherapy within the next 28 days.

As Noah’s parents left the courthouse in downtown Tampa after Wednedsay’s ruling, they described the judge’s decision as, “disappointing.”

The toddler’s mother, Taylor Bland-Ball, told WFLA, “I feel like it’s definitely increased my fight, my strength and ultimately, my forgiveness, because having to look at these people who have no regards for my son is difficult.”

The child’s father described how painful this has been and explained how his heart felt Wednesday. 

“It’s dropped, and it’s picking back up, and it’s still pumping blood. I love my son, and I’m going to be there for him,” said Joshua McAdams.

The couple maintains they just want what’s best for their little boy.

As Noah fights leukemia, his parents have been fighting the system. 

The toddler has already received two chemo treatments at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital, according to family members. However, when Noah’s mother and father took him out of state last week, seeking a second opinion, they were stopped in Ketucky by law enforcement. 

Shortly after, they lost custody of their son. 

The parents hired an attorney and took their fight to court, hoping a judge would rule in their favor for a more natural approach to treating their young son’s cancer.

They were pleased the court took time to listen to their concerns, but ultimately, heartbroken, when the ruling was announced Wednesday, after two days of grueling court testimony, that their son must undergo chemotherapy. 

“It is a mixed bag, in that we obvously have to watch this child go through chemothearpy, but at least we know with the use of cannabis and other treatments that the child will be able to deal with chemotherapy, rather than not being able to have those alternative treatments available,” their attorney, Michael MInardi, said.

For now, the child’s grandparents have temporary custody, although Noah’s mother and father will be allowed at his medical appointments and treatments.

The parents say they are working to regain custody of their little boy.

They explained that they’re currently working with the Department of Children and Famlies to arrange unsupervised visits.

With the judge’s ruling today, Noah is scheduled to receive chemotherapy treatment at Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital in downtown St. Petersburg Thursday morning, according to his parents and their attorney. 

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