Giving back: Children’s Hospital of Georgia ambassador Hudson Jones

boy smiling outside
Children's Hospital of Georgia ambassador Hudson Jones

Last Thanksgiving was a less than joyous occasion for Augusta resident Melissa Jones and her family.

Her then 5-year-old son Hudson Jones had been sick off and on, lethargic and complaining of headaches.

“On Thanksgiving, he woke up and started to vomit,” she explained. “He couldn’t stand or do anything on his own. We ended up going to the emergency room at Children’s Hospital of Georgia.

“When we got there, I think everyone thought it would be a quick in-and-out. We were admitted to the hospital. They knew he had fluid on the brain — they wanted to rule out anything else. They tested him for fluid on the brain and it turned out to be viral encephalitis,” which is an inflammation of the brain.

Hudson ended up staying at Children’s for 23 days, and was treated with steroids for five of those days. After being released, he went into physical therapy, because he still couldn’t sit or walk on his own.

His mother said by the time Hudson went for inpatient rehabilitation in Atlanta, “He was walking. He wasn’t good but he was walking.”

dogs sitting with a boy and girl
Hudson Jones (center) with Anna Grace Tully and facility dogs Nugget and Casey in May 2019.

Now almost a year later, the 6-year-old is 100 percent better and attending kindergarten.

Jones praises the doctors at Children’s, especially those who checked on them through the day and made the family’s stay comfortable.

“There’s not enough good things I can say about the Children’s Hospital of Georgia,” she said. “I feel like they work so hard to make the kids comfortable and happy. Child Life and Nugget and Casey were a big part of our experience. He would have blood drawn every day, but sometimes the knock on the door was a toy or a dog to play with, so he looked forward to it.”

Jones said activities like working on crafts with the child life specialists lift parents’ spirits, because the children’s spirits have been lifted.

Jones never thought her child, the oldest of two, would end up staying at Children’s, but now that she’s been through the experience, “It has a special place in my heart. Hudson and my daughter Maggie sometimes want to go back and see the dogs. My kids won’t know what to do this Christmas because they were so spoiled last year at Christmas. But we will be happy to be home.”

Help us make miracles happen right here in the community by tuning into the 19th annual iHeartMedia Cares for Kids Radiothon from Dec. 5-7.

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Written by
Henry Hanks

Henry Hanks is Senior News & Communications Coordinator at Augusta University. Contact him to schedule an interview on this topic or with one of our experts at 706-522-3023 or

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Written by Henry Hanks

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