An online campaign to send a terminally ill eight-year-old Langley boy on a Disney cruise with his family is gaining momentum.
His family has been told it will likely be the last vacation for Caleb McLean, whose cancer has returned, two years after he was first operated on.
Father Travis McLean said attempts to remove one of two resurgent tumors have only been partially successful, and doctors have told them Caleb only has months to live.
“I don’t believe them,” McLean said, struggling to keep his composure.
“I think my son is a fighter. He’s going to defeat the odds.”
When a visitor from the Make-A-Wish BC and Yukon, a charity that grants wishes to seriously ill kids, asked Caleb what he would like, he said he wanted to go on the “Disney boat” with his mother, father and all five siblings.
That was more than the foundation could cover, and the family was told the trip would only be possible with Caleb, both his parents, and just one of his five siblings.
“It’s unfortunate,” Travis said.
“I have nothing against Make-A-Wish. I can kind of see where they’re coming from. You don’t realize how many kids have cancer [and would qualify to have their wish granted by the foundation] until you’ve been to an oncology ward.”
Caleb’s aunt Danielle Glynn responded by setting up an online GoFundMe campaign called “Caleb’s Last Vacation” to raise the estimated $45,000 it would cost to sent Caleb, his parents and all five siblings on his dream vacation.
“He’s a big heart in a little body,” a tearful Glynn said of her nephew.
“He lights up the room with his smile.”
Over three days, more than 190 people donated about $23,000 to the campaign and the pace of contributions picked up as word spread, Glynn said.
Like her brother, Glynn said she understands the foundation has to stay within a budget, and she has nothing bad to say about it.
But asking a family to choose which of five children will accompany their brother on his last vacation “just sucks,” Glynn said.
“How do you pick which sibling?”
A spokesperson for Make-A-Wish BC and Yukon, Stuart Chase, said they are discussing an “alternate” arrangement with the family that would be within the foundation’s budget.
“That’s the reality we work with every day.” said Chase, the marketing and communications director for the charity.
“We are totally donation-based, not government funded.”
Chase had nothing but positive things to say about the family GoFundMe initiative for Caleb.
“It’s really awesome that they’re going to bat for him,” Chase said.
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