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Macomb County Boy Battling Cancer Gets a Monster of a Surprise

Six-year-old Joey Bartrum thought his family spent the night at a hotel while exterminators sprayed for bugs. When monster truck driver Jim Koehler greeted him, the jig was up.

Joey Bartrum's mother, Tiffany Schroeder, direct's her son's attention to special features in his Monster Jam-themed room. (Photo: Screenshot, Detroit News video)
Joey Bartrum's mother, Tiffany Schroeder, direct's her son's attention to special features in his Monster Jam-themed room. (Photo: Screenshot, Detroit News video)

A 6-year-old Clinton Township boy who has been fighting acute lymphoblastic leukemia for the past three years got a big surprise Thursday when he walked into his room and found it had been transformed with Monster Jam-themed decor.

Joey Bartrum had spent Wednesday night at a hotel with his parents and two sisters – a ruse the family had set up while volunteers from Field Motor Sports, the producers of Monster Jam, and Special Spaces Michigan Tri-County transformed his room, the Detroit News reports.

Joey, a kindergartner at Mount Clemens Montessori, had been told the family had to stay in a hotel while exterminators sprayed for bugs. He admitted to being suspcious of the story, but was unprepared for the surprise awaiting him back home.

The young Monster Jam fan was greeted by a throng of reporters and a very special guest – monster truck driver Jim Koehler.

Joey, who was diagnosed with the disease when he was 3 after suffering nose bleeds and mysterious illnesses, has a few chemotherapy treatments left and is in clinical remission. His mother, Tiffany Schroeder, says he doesn’t remember a time when he didn’t have a port in his chest.

The room makeover “is something that’s positive for him to remember” after the discomfort of the treatments, his mother said.

“I can’t put into words how much this means,” said Joe Bartrum, Joey’s dad.

>>> Read the full story on Detroit News and watch the Detroit News video.


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