Josh McIntosh keeps a positive attitude at Blair E. Batson after it was revealed he had a tumor on his brain.
Josh McIntosh keeps a positive attitude at Blair E. Batson after it was revealed he had a tumor on his brain.
MADISON — Over the past week, the McIntosh family has been on an emotional roller coaster after discovering their son and only child, Josh, had a brain tumor that required immediate surgery.

Last Thursday, Josh went to his local pediatrician after complaining of severe headaches. On Friday, the Germantown Middle School student was taken to Blair E. Batson Children’s Hospital in Jacåkson where a tumor was identified and surgery took place on Monday.

“We’re starting the morning off without a lot to say, which is a good thing,” Peggy McIntosh, Josh’s mother, wrote Wednesday morning on a Facebook group titled Josh’s Journey.

A long-time friend of hers, Arlette Hulsey Thompson, helped her set up the group to provide a central source of information to mitigate the influx of calls and messages the family was receiving.

“I had helped other friends set up something like that in the past,” Thompson said.

McIntosh said it started as an opportunity for her to write and vent to anyone who cared to listen, but has become a hub of support for the family.

“The doctor said he though he may have a migraine, but wanted to run some more tests just to be sure and I said I thought that was a good idea,” Mcintosh said Tuesday evening, while grabbing a quick bite before going back to be with her son. "That was the day my world ended. Hardest day of my life by far.

“The surgeon came in on Monday, which he usually does not do, and moved his schedule around for my boy,” she continued. “The nurses have been so supportive of not just my son but our entire family. They have cried with us and hugged us and just paid incredibly close attention to my boy. I have just never seen service like this before, ever, they are incredible.”

McIntosh said the hardest part for her was right before Josh was set to go into surgery.

“I knew i had to stay strong for Josh before he went into surgery. He couldn’t see me breaking down and being a mess. I got through what i had to but as soon as he was out of sight I broke down,” she said.

Josh’s tumor was completely removed by skilled doctors and staff at Batson, though Peggy reported it did metastasize to the dura,  a thick membrane that is the outermost of the three layers of the meninges that surround the brain and spinal cord.

Josh is not done with treatment yet. He will remain in the hospital for at least another two weeks and will likely undergo physical therapy and chemotherapy treatment. His mother said they are likely looking at least nine months of recovery.

Josh is speaking in complete, coherent sentences and is responding well to doctor's tests and there continues to be good news, Peggy reported.

Josh’s friends, fellow students at GMS, and his youth pastor at First Baptist Madison have all agreed and are ready to shave their heads in support of Josh, whose biggest fear is losing his hair.

A Germantown parent, with no other connection to the McIntosh family other than proximity, has already ordered red bracelets for kids at the school with Joshua 1:9 printed on them which reads: “Have I not commanded you be strong and courageous.”

‘The support from the community has just been incredible. People who I do not know are contacting me to see what they can do to help. I saw someone has made bracelets. I don’t know that person but it is incredible to me that they want to show their support,” Peggy said. “We are just blessed to live in such a wonderful community.”

In under a week, the Facebook support group has ballooned to nearly 1,400 members from all over Mississippi and the southeast with people who have offered their prayers and support and organized fundraisers and food deliveries for the family.

One post becoming known as "the Superhero post" has garnered a lot of attention. In the post, Peggy declares her son "her superhero" on par with anyone in her husband's, Woody, old comic book collection.

Members of the GMS Fellowship of Christian Athletes held a prayer for Josh recently.

To follow Josh’s story as updated by his mom and find more ways to reach out to the family visit Josh’s Journey, a public Facebook group.