Farmer City welcomes back an 11-year-old fighter

Farmer City welcomes back an 11-year-old fighter

FARMER CITY — Eleven-year-old Kade Nichols and his mom, Kelly, had not seen their hometown of Farmer City for 82 days, so they received quite the warm welcome when they finally made it back to the DeWitt County community this week.

Kade was diagnosed with a brain tumor on April 21. After surgery to remove it at the Peoria-based Children's Hospital of Illinois, he suffered from a postoperative syndrome, causing him to lose some motor and speech skills. He rehabbed at Ranken Jordan Pediatric Bridge Hospital in Maryland Heights, Mo.

"We're hoping for a full recovery, but it could take a year or longer," said Kelly Nichols, adding that while the tumor was not cancerous, there is a chance it could grow back. So the plan for now is for Kade to have MRI scans every three months.

When Kade and Kelly's vehicle arrived at the Farmer City limits shortly before 4 p.m. Thursday, it was met by a police car and fire truck, which escorted them through town to the high school and a waiting crowd of close to 50 well-wishers.

"I couldn't hardly see, I was tearing up so much," said Todd Nichols, Kade's father. "It means a lot to have the support of our community. Everyone just went out of their way."

Kade was all smiles as classmates, teachers and family gave him hugs after he exited the car. Some held signs of encouragement, and others wore special "Kade's Krew" T-shirts.

"I just know that it made me feel real great how the community comes together when there's something that happens like this," Todd Nichols said.

Added Kelly: "A lot of times, it's just bad news that you hear, or no news. So when something great like this happens, it's great the media wants to be in touch, and the community comes out to support us. Even the fire department and police department escorted us through town.

"How many towns are going to do that for you? Not many."

Brothers Lane, 15, and Travys, 23, were also there to greet their younger sibling, who will be a sixth-grade student at Blue Ridge this year.

One of Kade's first requests was to get reacquainted with his pets.

"He wants to pet his kitty cats," Kelly said.

"I'm so glad to be home," she added. "Thank you to everyone for the support, and the cards, and the love. It really helped Kade a lot. Every time he got a card, it made him so happy. They were a great boost for him."

Steve Hoffman is editor of the Piatt County Journal-Republican, a News-Gazette Media community newspaper. For more, visit

Sections (2):News, Local
Topics (2):Health Care, People