After months of treatments, Gritty's young friend is going home cancer-free

Mike DeNardo
February 28, 2020 - 4:00 am
Gritty and Jack Callahan at Callahan's birthday party.

Mike DeNardo/KYW Newsradio


PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — After months of treatments at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, the young cancer patient who befriended Gritty is cancer-free. 4-year-old Jack Callahan is finally heading home to Charlottesville, Virginia.

Callahan has been in Philadelphia since August. He's had three bone marrow transplants and 30 days of proton radiation to treat the germ-cell tumor in his pelvis that had metastasized to his lungs. 

But his dad, Mike Callahan, says the most recent scans and blood tests show no evidence of cancer. 

"We're ecstatic. We are just praying and hoping that that holds. But for the moment, things are looking really good for Jack," he said. 


The younger Callahan captured the hearts of Philadelphians last year when he wrote to Gritty, asking the Flyers mascot to attend his fourth birthday party in October. 

Gritty did. 

The Flyers kept in touch, and last Saturday, he was well enough to take the Flyers up on their offer to see a game.

"Jack kind of sees Gritty as his best friend. And Gritty has actually helped Jack stay strong going through this treatment. So it was really cool that they saw that and they provided an opportunity to get Jack and Gritty back together again," his dad added. 

The Callahans are heading home to Charlottesville Friday, and Mike Callahan says he'll be bringing the 4-year-old back to Philadelphia for monthly meetings with his oncologist, so there should be more opportunities to reunite him with his best friend.