Buffalo boy has international adventures in mind after twice battling cancer

Buffalo

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Buffalo boy who twice battled cancer is now in remission.

Jonah Kuper-Raess is an enthusiastic six-year-old. By looking at him or talking with him, you’d never imagine all he’s gone through over the past few years.

“Just after his third birthday, he was having just a little bit of leg pain,” his mother, Tori Kuper, says. “He had a funny walk and we couldn’t quite figure out why, assumed it was growing pains. And one night, I put him to bed and he woke up crying and screaming in pain.”

Within just a few days, Jonah was no longer able to walk at all. Scans revealed a large tumor in his chest and showed that 80 percent of his bone marrow had been displaced by cancer.

“It’s every family’s worst nightmare,” Kuper says. “It’s the worst thing you can imagine happening to you as a mother, but we knew we had to push through and be strong for our child.”

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Jonah battled Stage 4 neuroblastoma not once, but twice. After three years fighting, he finished treatment this past July and is now doing better than ever.

“I took all the medicine to make the cancer go away and ringing the bell was the reward,” Jonah says.

To celebrate being in remission, Make-A-Wish WNY gifted Jonah with something he often thought of during his treatments — a camper to travel in.

“I couldn’t even say one word except for ‘wow,'” Jonah says.

“Even in the hospital, we’d look out the window and he’s like, ‘Mom, we’re going to get out of here, go in the car and go to California.’ So, it was always like this dream he had of an alternate life,” Kuper says.

And now that his dream is a reality, he already has his itinerary mapped out.

“California first, Mexico second and Egypt is third,” he says.

Jonah’s mom says those upcoming adventures symbolize the start of a new chapter.

“We’re so grateful to have this camper to build memories and moments because you know, he spent most of his life in a hospital, and now we’re looking forward to making up for that.”

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Gabrielle Mediak is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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