Monday, August 22, 2016

Memories and BFFs

When I moved to New Hampshire as a 12 year old, red headed, freckled, young pre-teen, I remember wishing I could relate to my fellow classmates who shared stories of their times together in kindergarten and early elementary school. I had changed schools due to moves a number of times as a kid and so, with the new friends I would make, our history would begin with 8th grade. 

As Cameron starts first grade this week, and we officially leave a hard kindergarten year behind, there will always be this small, Caellan-sized hole in our hearts, where the memories with him sadly end with kindergarten. The two boys were creating what very likely could have been a lifetime friendship, and though Cam has been lucky enough to make new friends, it will be hard as he starts first grade without his BFF. Losing a friend is hard, but losing your best friend at 5-years-old, when nothing makes sense and everything is supposed to be block towers, trucks and dinosaurs, is really, really hard. 

If you hadn't had a chance to read about Cameron's spunky, fun, curly-haired BFF, Caellan, here is your opportunity:

Caellan's mom, Anna, wrote this about Caellan:

"Caellan was born a fighter. He came into this world 2 1/2 months early and right from the get-go had numerous medical conditions from extreme GERD to chronic lung disease. He underwent a fundoplication surgery, at just 4 months, which also led to him needing a g-tube placed which he relied on for a little over a year for eating. Over the years I had to rush him to the ER for many different reasons and as a single mother with 2 sons it became overwhelming at times, especially being halfway across the US from my family. I can remember not being able to sleep watching my son's back slowly lift and fall, making sure he was just breathing ok. After almost 3 years of going it alone and fighting with Kansas doctors about thinking there might be something else medically that they weren't catching with my son, we traveled back east, where I grew up, to be surrounded by family and hopefully find some answers. We had been in Keene, NH a little over a month when I had to bring Caellan to the ER and we were rushed by ambulance to CHaD in Lebanon, NH to receive more age-appropriate care and try to figure out what was going on. After a stay at CHaD, traveling to many different specialists from all the various Cheshire medical facilities, and a brain MRI, later we got the answers we were looking for. Caellan was diagnosed with cerebral palsy and periventricular leukomalacia, along with needing to get a brace on his left leg to help with his tip toe walking due to hypertension. Caellan never let any of this stop him. He was the brightest light and his love of all life, creatures big and small and plants. He lit up any and everywhere he went. Sadly, despite all the medical attention and doctors/specialists, nothing could prepare us for what occurred on New Year’s Eve of 2015. Caellan became very sick, very quickly which was normal for him, but this time was very different. By the time we rushed him to the ER, it was already too late, we were told later. In only 12 hours, Mom by his side for most of that time and a helicopter ride to Mass General Hospital, he was gone. The surgery that saved his life at 4 months was ultimately what took him from us and created a huge hole in so many people's hearts."

In Caellan's memory and as a way to raise funds for the Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock, where Caellan did and Cameron still does receive care, we created the Inaugural Virtual BFF Run/Walk for CHaD. Many of you, if you're reading this blog post, have probably seen this event posted over and over on Facebook during the last two weeks, but if you haven't, here is your last chance to join the #BFFwalkforCHaD! The deadline has been extended to Tuesday, August 23rd at midnight EST. 

Simply click this link:  
Chose your event apparel (make an additional donation if you are willing/able)
If you are local, feel free to chose to pick up from me or from Bulldog Design in Keene, NH
Then go out and run/walk/bike/skip/hop along any distance you'd like with your BFF
Take a photo and share it with hashtag #BFFwalkforCHaD
Proceeds from the event apparel go directly to CHaD.

If you'd rather skip this event, but would still like to make a donation to CHaD in Cameron and/or Caellan's name, please feel free to do so here: 

Caellan and Cameron in Mrs. Arrow's Kindergarten class
Be on the look-out for more CHaD HERO FUNdraising opportunities later this summer and early fall!

1 comment:

  1. Jonah was wondering if Caellen were still alive, if he would be in Mrs. Soltysiak's first grade class too. It made me tear up a little…. :(