by Sunny Layne
OELWEIN (KWWL) -- When parents hold their child for the first time, they feel a new sense of joy and the intense desire to protect that child.
It can be life's hardest trial to see that child sick or suffering.
But one little boy is showing his parents how to be strong through his example.
Meet Jacob Kearns, someone you should know.
Jacob Kearns, the youngest of three boys, was born two and a half years ago with health, energy and spunk.
"He's outgoing, fun, loves to play with his brothers," father Chris Kearns said.
That's why it was so strange for him to get sick in March of this year.
"He had huge lumps on the side of his neck like golf balls. His neck was so swollen he couldn't turn it," mother Kara Kearns said.
Doctors told Chris and Kara Kearns their son had juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia. So rare only one in one million children have it.
"It is like a bus had hit you. Like I had lost something," Kara Kearns said.
Since then, the family has been on a long and exhausting journey. From chemotherapy to a bone marrow transplant.
"We've had a roller coaster," grandmother Gayle Burgin said. "At first, we were like, we are going to beat this, maybe Jacob will be the one they find the cure for, and then some days are really bad."
His family says Jacob's enthusiasm for life has not weakened. He couldn't wait to get out of the hospital to for his fundraiser at the Pizza Ranch in Oelwein.
"He's been a trooper through the whole thing," Burgin said. "And there are times you think he's going to get sick and he doesn't."
"He's taught me how to be strong," Chris Kearns said. "He's done really good. Made me feel stronger than I thought I could be."
And as Jacob teaches his family how to live, they are determined to do all they can to ensure his life is a long one.
Jacob is currently back in the hospital with graph-versus-host disease, where the bone marrow transplant attacks the recipient's body. The family continues to hope and pray for his recovery.
If you would like to help or follow Jacob's progress, click here and sign in to get Jacob's story. He is under "jkearns."
Reporter: Sunny Layne