Young Bubba Bush took a break from battling brain tumor to go deep-sea fishing aboard the I'm Hooked.
NICEVILLE — After spending most of his summer in the hospital, Juan Bush III was surprised Saturday with one of his favorite activities: deep-sea fishing.
Juan, who would rather be called “Bubba,” has been battling a brain tumor since he was 5 years old, and since then has gone through multiple operations, chemotherapy and radiation. Now at 13, Bubba has begun a new research chemo treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee.
“It has been a long road and roller coaster,” said Juan Bush Jr., Bubba’s father and a senior operator at Duke Field. “After awhile, it becomes a new normal.”
With the help of friends, the military family was able to go deep-sea fishing with Captain Dave Heath on the I’m Hooked charter boat that calls the Emerald Coast Marina in Niceville its home port.
The group of happy anglers caught two red snapper and three king mackerel during their five-hour trip.
“It was a nice surprise and gave him something fun to do in the summer before school starts,” said Jennifer Bush, Bubba’s mother.
“It was a surprise until seven minutes before getting here, when my dad couldn’t hold it any longer and told me,” Bubba added.
Bubba’s two favorite things are fishing and being a cheerleader at Beach Elite Cheer & Tumble. He is also excited to start school as an eighth-grader at Meigs Middle School in Shalimar.
“He will have to miss the first week of school because we have to go back to St. Jude on Wednesday,” Jennifer said while the family was eating their catch at Chef Dan’s Fuel at North Light at the Emerald Coast Marina.
Bubba has to go to a routine MRI scan and checkup every month for the duration of the two-year treatment. After treatment is completed, he will have to get routine MRI scans every three months for five more years.
“I really don’t like to ask for a prognosis,” Jennifer said. “He is going to have to live with it for the rest of his life.”
Juan and Jennifer advise other families going through the same situation to seek the right doctors and treatment, and surround themselves with supportive people.
“Trust in people who are willing to help and accept it and just pray," Juan said. "It will take you through it."