Espinosa Family – Calebs Story
Caleb was an ordinary toddler brought into this world by two loving parents. Caleb was born in September of 2011. He was a happy and healthy boy with parents who loved him dearly. For the first 16 months of Caleb’s life, things seemed pretty normal, then one day his parents were told their bouncing baby boy had cancer.
in 2012 at the age of 1 ½ years with Hepatoblastoma, a form of liver cancer.
The family’s option at diagnosis to start Caleb on chemotherapy right away. After a few rounds of chemo and further examinations, the doctors informed Elsy and Alfredo that Caleb needed a liver transplant. Immediately Caleb was added to the transplant list and at 18 months old, and only being on the transplant list for 16 days, he received a new liver. Caleb was, and still is, treated at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston. The family was identified to MCF as one of the six low income families most in need of financial assistance.
The transplant went well and after a full month of recovery in the hospital, it was time for this toddler to start chemo once again. This round of chemo was extremely hard on Caleb’s little body, causing fevers and fluid in his abdomen. After a three-month fight in the hospital, Caleb went home, but the new battle had just begun.
Caleb had to learn how to do everything again. After his hospital stay he required speech therapy to help him learn how to talk rather than use sign language which had been his method of communication, occupational therapy to help him learn how to eat since he was on a feeding tube for nine months, and physical therapy to help him learn how to walk again. Elsy was unable to work because there were nine therapy appointments (speech and physical therapy) every week, not including Caleb’s appointments with oncologists and with the hospital to address his cancer. Even a part-time job for Elsy was, and is, out of the question.
Alfredo was the breadwinner in the home, that is until that fateful day in September 2014 when the family went on its first vacation since Caleb was diagnosed with cancer and a tragic accident took his life.
While they were enjoying their day at the waterpark, Alfredo suddenly fainted, hitting his head as he fell causing him to have a seizure. The severe seizure caused Alfredo to injure his head further. The injury was so bad that he was bleeding internally into his brain so the emergency crew air-lifted Alfredo to San Antonio. The doctors did everything they could to help Alfredo but his condition continued to worsen. On September 22, 2014, only three days before Caleb’s third birthday, Alfredo passed away at the age of 28. He was thereafter laid to rest on his 29th birthday.
Elsy told us, “It has been a roller coaster,everything happened so quickly. I am so very sad and hurt that he is no longer here with Caleb and me. The thought of him not being able to spend time with Caleb hurts. It seems so surreal. At times I still feel like I’m stuck in a dream like how I was when Caleb was going through cancer. I know that he is in a better place and that spiritually he will always be around. I always fill my mind with positive thoughts and I will always lean on the lord. He is the only one who can continue to give me the strength I need to move forward. I promised Alfredo I was going to continue to care for Caleb and make sure he is always happy just like he has always been. Even when Caleb had cancer that didn’t stop him from smiling, laughing or dancing. Caleb is my motivation to move forward, he is a little piece of my husband.”
When The Max Cure Foundation heard about Caleb’s family, we immediately took action and rallied our supporters to aid in this recovery of this family. Thanks to our tremendous supporters online, we raised over $2500 in donations for Elsy and Caleb. In addition, our ambassador Trevor rallied the community and collected enough sneakers we were able to give Elsy and additional $500 from our Dunk Your Kicks program.
We are very proud of the support we were able to offer this family during such a tragic time in their life. When we told Elsy we were sending her the final check right before the holidays, she responded by saying:
“How wonderful! Thank you so much for all your help. I really do appreciate everyone & everything you have done for us. I have lots of good things to tell Caleb when he grows, this one is very special indeed. I know one day he will make the effort to pay it forward. You are all beyond amazing!”
The Max Cure Foundation will continue to check in on Elsy and Caleb’s progress and share with you, and they will continue to receive monthly gift cards as part of our Roar Beyond Barriers program. Please consider supporting the Roar Beyond Barriers Texas program so we can continue to provide for Elsy and five other families in Texas with the same struggle.