Joshua Aiden Kaltenbach is a typical 4-year-old boy who likes to watch cartoons and practice taekwondo with his father.
As an infant though, Joshua, called "Jak" by family, faced a much different reality.
Born premature and with high blood pressure, Jak spent about a week in the neonatal intensive care unit at University Hospital before going home for the first time.
Days later, he was admitted to the Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center with an even more serious problem. Jak was diagnosed with a life-threatening intestinal illness that kept him in the hospital's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit for weeks.
"They didn't know if he was going to live," said his mother, Tanya Kaltenbach, of Evans.
Though he recovered from that disorder, Jak's medical adversities were far from over.
When she was pregnant with Jak, Kaltenbach was told by doctors that the baby had a mass on his left kidney. Days before Christmas, Kaltenbach and her husband, John, found out the mass was cancerous, and growing.
Just 4 months old, Jak needed surgery, which was performed at MCG. It was a success.
The tumor turned out to be neuroblastoma, the most common cancer in infancy. About 650 new cases are diagnosed each year in the United States, according to MCG officials.
To show their gratitude to the hospital, the Kaltenbachs will share Jak's story during the 10th annual Cares for Kids Radiothon Thursday through Saturday in the Children's Medical Center lobby.
Patient stories will be broadcast live on WBBQ 104.3 FM and Kiss 96.3 FM from 5:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. Thursday, 5:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. The radiothon is a fundraiser for the center.
Since his surgery, Jak continues to be tested every six months to make sure the cancer hasn't returned.
"It's very doubtful it will ever come back," John Kaltenbach said. "We've been told that it's almost a zero chance of this coming back."
The now-rambunctious boy likes to ride his bike and play with the family computer and his father's iPod, John Kaltenbach said.
"He's definitely a handful," he said. "It hasn't slowed him down."
The couple also have a 15-year-old daughter and an 11-year-old son. Their third child, a daughter, died at birth from a heart condition.
The Kaltenbachs like to think of their son as a miracle child.
"Jak is wonderful," Tanya Kaltenbach said. "He's a real sweetie."
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