Cal's medical journey began on May 11, 2018, when his parents noticed a growth on the right side of side neck. The family hoped it was a cyst and Cal underwent surgery to get a clearer picture. Once it was biopsied his parents received news that no parent dreams of getting, the growth was found to be a cancerous tumor. Cal was then diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma just nine days after his seventh birthday.
The family was referred to a Pediatric Oncologist in Omaha. There in the wonderful hands of the oncology department, Cal underwent countless tests after the removal of the tumor. This included a lumbar puncture, bone marrow biopsy, port placement for further treatments, x-ray’s, CT scans, PET scans and many blood tests, all extremely taxing on his small body.
Later that same month, Cal started his first round of chemotherapy on May 26, 2018. Followed by his second round the next month. During this time Cal and his family spent weeks on end in the hospital.
“On August 3, 2018 we got word Cal’s PET scan was clear.” Ashlee, Cal’s mother reminders. “He was then considered to be in the maintenance phase. We continued scans every three months for the first year. All came back clear! We are currently doing scans every six months and hoping for clear results from here on out.”
His parents first found out he was eligible for a wish during a conversation with his doctor after Cal’s port placement and a long day of testing. “We honestly were very excited as we knew Cal deserved to have something positive to look forward to.” Ashlee shares. “Cal also had two brothers at home who had been through a lot knowing their brother was sick. This was something positive we could all enjoy as a family.”
Cal’s wish was to go to Walt Disney World Resort. Together, his family started at the Give Kids the World Resort, where they would spend time as a family and no worry about doctors, hospitals, testing or treatment. Cal loved his time at the parks and his favorite rides were the Hulk Coaster at Island of Adventure & Harry Potter Motorbike Adventure.
“Make-A-Wish Iowa is truly a blessing to our family! It made our days a little brighter knowing we had a big trip to Disney World planned,” Ashlee says. “Make-A-Wish went above and beyond to make us have a dream vacation with no stress. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience and we felt so special the entire trip!”