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Boy whose parents fought for unapproved drug leaves hospital after six months

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Most people remember last March when the parents of Josh Hardy fought to get him an unapproved drug to save his life. According to ABC News on Thursday, the eight-year-old boy was well enough to leave St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Tennessee to go back home to Frederick, Virginia.

His mother, Aimee Hardy, wrote on Save Josh Facebook page, “Glory to GOD! We are going home!!!! Leaving today. After 6 1/2 months, Josh finally gets to be in his house.”

Josh received his first cancer diagnosis when he was just a baby with aggressive rhabdoid tumors in both kidneys. He went through surgery, chemotherapy and radiation. Then, after nearly four years of being cancer-free, Josh received bad news in Nov. 2013, that the cancer had returned in his thalamus gland and then his lung. He had myelodysplastic syndrome, the same precancerous bone marrow disorder that ABC News anchor Robin Roberts was diagnosed with in 2012.

The best hope for Josh’s survival was an unapproved antiviral drug called brincidofovir suggested by his doctor at St. Jude's Hospital, but the company that makes the drug at first refused to give it to him until the Hardys started several online petitions to get the company to change its mind. Their efforts paid off and Chimerix received approval from the Food and Drug Administration in March to release the drug to Josh as part of a pilot trial of open-label brincidofovir for the treatment of adenovirus infections in immunocompromised patients. Chimerix, a small North Carolina drug company, had been developing the drug for the past 14 years, but it had not been approved.

According to the news, Josh then spent the past six-and-a-half months at St. Jude's Medical Center in Memphis receiving treatments and his family announced Tuesday night Josh is healthy enough to go home.

The family calls Josh's recovery an answer to their prayers. He will still have to go back to Memphis later this month, as well as return for monthly appointments until Jan. As of now, Josh has beaten cancer four times, and his kidney function has returned, and he is free of the need of dialysis. His heart function is within normal range. His lung function is perfect. His tummy is coming around. He has not had the need of a blood transfusion in a month. With a lot of hard work his strength will return. He can walk a nice distance holding someone's hands. His family anticipates the return of Josh's immunity in a few months.

Those who have followed Josh's story are thrilled with the news that he is back home with his family.

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