When Caleb was an infant, he would twitch slightly, appearing as if he had a chill. It was so subtle, that it didn’t appear as something to be concerned about. After his first birthday, he came down with a virus that made his temperature soar. At the time, doctors thought he was having febrile seizures that can occur in children who have a rapid increase in body temperature. Something more serious was going on… the seizures continued and worsened over time. Caleb also stopped talking.
Caleb went to a neurologist, and was diagnosed with generalized myoclonic epilepsy. Myoclonic seizures are brief, shock-like jerks of a muscle or group of muscles. Caleb was prescribed different medications without long-term success… treatment seemed hopeless. He did start talking again, however his condition also caused permanent speech delays.
It’s stressful living with the uncertainty of seizures – they can strike anywhere and at any time, and he had to be cautious with activities that could put him in further danger. Caleb was in need of a special dose of happiness, and hoped to go to Disney World and meet Lilo and Stitch. Caleb is a military child, and watching these characters on TV helped him feel connected to his parent who was stationed in Hawaii. Lilo and Stitch are also special to him promoting Ohana – The Hawaiian tradition of family.
Caleb’s wish would come true! With one of his parents back from Hawaii but still in the Navy, the wish was extra special when a leave request was granted, and they were able to experience the wish together as a family. It would be a very meaningful trip.
Caleb, his parents and baby brother were flown from New York to Florida courtesy of Kids Wish Network. Caleb had a spectacular Orlando vacation experiencing Disney’s rides and meeting all of his favorite animated characters – especially Stitch. With Caleb having such an amazing time at the Disney World theme parks, they decided to spend most of their waking and treasured moments there – they wanted to experience all of Disney’s magic. “We appreciate everything Kids Wish Network did for us,” said Caleb’s mom Kelli. “Caleb has been asking when we can go back.”
Since returning from the wish, Caleb received a vagus nerve stimulator implant. His family hopes it will help, however it can take 6 months to a year before he experiences any improvement. He still has about 15 seizures a day.
“Dreams coming true are a bonding experience providing family togetherness,” said Kids Wish Network Executive Director Tam Lai. “Military families make so many daily sacrifices for our country, and are not always able to be together for special occasions. We’re so happy and honored that Caleb’s wish created so many beautiful moments and memories celebrated as a family.”