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KIDS WITH COURAGE: Javohn Garbutt

Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 10:00 PM CST
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – KTTC is honored to introduce viewers monthly to some of the youngest among us, facing the unthinkable with bravery and optimism. In our 16th “Kids With Courage” segment, Caitlin Alexander introduces us to 10-year-old Javohn Garbutt.

Javohn and his father, Thomas, spent this holiday season in Rochester, far from home.

“Belize is a nice place that we can do outdoor things that we like, like fishing,” Javohn said.

Javohn fishing
Javohn fishing(Garbutt Family)

That’s where he is from. When he’s home, he’s usually on a fishing boat.

It’s no surprise that Rochester is quite different. We asked Javohn if he liked it here.

“Yep, kind of!” he responded with a sweet smile.

The truth is Javohn is just that kind of positive kid, even during his cancer battle.

It’s the second one he’s faced in his short life.

Javohn first got sick when he was eight.

“So, we went to the city to check out and find out it was a tumor,” Thomas recalled.

The diagnosis was a brain tumor.

Javohn’s family got him to the states for care. First, he underwent surgery in Denver, then he came to Mayo Clinic. He went under the knife again before radiation. Treatment was successful.

“We went back and forth just for checkups, and then we come back, and there was another tumor. Not a brain tumor, but another one on his skull,” Thomas said.

“It was concerning that it was another malignancy,” said Dr. Jonathan Schwartz, a pediatric neuro-oncologist at Mayo Clinic. He is a part of Javohn’s care team.

Since Javohn’s return to Rochester in September, he’s had multiple surgeries.

He’s now begun chemotherapy treatment and that will continue for months, likely into May or June. Still, you’d never hear Javohn complain.

“Javohn is just that kid that has taken every piece of bad news that’s been handed to him and has done it with courageousness, with a smile, with a thank you. And just everyone that he meets loves him,” Dr. Schwartz said.

“He’s ten times braver than I am,” Thomas agreed.

Javohn also happens to be the youngest of six kids. He’s even younger than his twin sister.

While he’s away from family, he’s found another family at the Ronald McDonald House in Rochester.

His Rochester family got him fishing too!

Javohn fishing in Minnesota
Javohn fishing in Minnesota(Garbutt Family)

“This is home. This is like home. The way that they treat us, we feel like we’re home. It’s home away from home,” Thomas said.

It has some good treats too.

“Butterfinger,” Javohn said, when we asked him his favorite.

Our Kid With Courage is keeping his eyes on the sweet things. On his future. He wants to be a fishing tour guide when he grows up.

If you know a Kid With Courage Caitlin should meet, email kidswithcourage@kttc.com.