People.com Human Interest High School Football Player Now Left Unable to Walk During Brain Cancer Battle: 'Keep Going' Jadon Phillips was diagnosed with brain cancer as he prepared to visit colleges and try out for football teams By Jason Duaine Hahn Jason Duaine Hahn Website Jason Hahn is a Human Interest and Sports Reporter for PEOPLE. He's worked at PEOPLE's Los Angeles Bureau as a writer and reporter since 2017 and has interviewed the likes of Kobe Bryant, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Brady. He has a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University. He previously worked for Complex Magazine in New York City. People Editorial Guidelines Published on May 6, 2021 03:40 PM Share Tweet Pin Email Photo: GoFundMe Just as Jadon Phillips was preparing to graduate from high school and start his college career, the unthinkable happened: The 17-year-old from Delran High School in New Jersey was diagnosed with a brain tumor after he was found unresponsive on the morning of Christmas Eve last year, according to a GoFundMe campaign set up in his name. "That was the day that Jadon and his family's life took a new direction," a description on the donation pages reads. "Jadon was rushed to the hospital that day, and it was discovered that he had blood on his brain and needed emergency surgery. After the surgery, Jadon was in ICU at [Children's Hospital of Philadelphia] for 35 nights." Phillips had surgery to remove the tumor on March 3 and entered physical, occupational and speech therapy soon after. While the family had hoped to move forward following the operation, tests revealed his tumor was cancerous. "Three weeks later the tumor returned," the GoFundMe page said. "Jadon was diagnosed with an aggressive brain cancer. Through all of this, the family's faith in God has not wavered and they are believing in Him for Jadon's healing." Teen Cancer Survivor with Autism Gets Acceptance Letter to College That Saved Her Life: 'Grateful' According to the National Brain Tumor Society, only 6 percent of all brain tumors occur in the pediatric population, making them rare for people below the age of 19. The organization estimates there will be 4,630 news cases of pediatric brain tumors in the United States by the end of 2021. RELATED VIDEO: Helen McCrory, Harry Potter Star, Dies at 52 After 'Heroic Battle with Cancer,' Says Husband Damian Lewis Phillips' mother, Caisse Gore, is now caring for her son "24 hours a day," she told WPVI. She said he was planning to go to prom this year, but today, the illness has left him unable to walk. The campaign has raised more than $80,000 as of Thursday afternoon, surpassing its initial goal of $75,000. 6-Time Cancer Survivor Gets Own Parade After Missing Chance to Ride on Float: 'Queen for a Day' "Jadon is known to his friends and family as being persistent, strong-willed, loving, and sensitive," GoFundMe organizers said of Phillips. "He enjoys spending time with his parents and his brothers and sisters." In a video posted to YouTube on Wednesday, Phillips thanked everyone who donated to help the family pay for his medical bills. "Thank you, everybody, for your love and support, we really appreciate and it means so much," he said, "We're just going to keep going at it, working this thing up — let's go."