December 4, 2017
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May 10, 2017
This letter and video was written and recorded by Gavin’s parents, Christi and Luke. We hope it inspires our readers as much it did for the Children’s Wish Foundation International. We were so happy to fulfill Gavin’s wish of a lifetime.
Dear Children’s Wish Foundation International,
I’m writing to you on behalf of my son, Gavin. He is a soon to be 12 year old boy, who received the most amazing gift of a lifetime from your foundation this March 2017.
To understand how much this gift really meant to us I have to explain how much our family has had to endure these last 12 years of Gavin’s life. He is the second youngest of our blended family of five kids. He was born a normal healthy baby but that only lasted 4 months before he started having seizures. He was diagnosed with a very severe form of Epilepsy called Infantile Spasms. He was having over a hundred seizures a day for his first one and a half years of his life.
We spent most of that time in and out of the hospital trying numerous seizure medications to find that one that would work for him. We finally found one called ACTH but it only gave him a month of seizure free freedom before they came back with a vengeance. Due to the major side effects of the ACTH Gavin spent a month in the hospital with several life threatening infections. Luckily our little boy fought through them.
Then at the age of three, Gavin was diagnosed with Autism due to the damage all the seizures caused to his brain during his critical stage of development. He was delayed on everything. He spent hours of his week in therapies to help him learn to do what all normal kids do naturally. Through all of this he was a joy in our lives. He was always smiling and full of love and life.
We did have a few good years of what seemed like a “normal” life until January 2016. Gavin had started refusing to eat and drink. We took him to several doctors and few Emergency room visits where we were told he had constipation issues. At the beginning of February 2016, Gavin was admitted to the hospital to help relieve his constipation issues. While there, during normal blood draws they noticed his blood counts were dropping each day and wanted to perform a bone marrow aspiration. Less than 24 hours later we were told our son had Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Hearing those words shocks you deep to your soul. We didn’t know how we had gotten to this point. Hadn’t Gavin suffered enough already in his short lifetime?
The day he was scheduled to have his chemo port placed we were then told they couldn’t be certain if in fact he had Leukemia. The doctors were not in agreement. They told us to wait a month and they would do another bone marrow test. We were again shocked, how do we take our son home not knowing if he does or doesn’t have Cancer and then to be told to wait a month.
At this point we switched hospitals and it took us until April 19, 2016 and three bone marrow aspirations to get a true diagnosis. He did in fact have High Risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Once again our world was devastated. We had to prepare the other 4 kids for what Gavin was about to face and they all were champs and braver than we could have ever imagined.
Due to Gavin’s Autism and developmental delays we had no idea how to explain this to Gavin. We struggled for several days on how to explain the chemo port he was about to have placed. During our conversation it was his older two brothers that came up with the explanation that the Cancer was Decepticons and the port would be placed to help Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee who would be the chemo to go in and fight the Decepticons in his blood. He understood it and loved the concept. And that is how his heroes came to be Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee. Every chemo treatment he had an Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee blanket that went with him. He told all the nurses about it every time they were connecting his port to start chemo. They gave him strength to fight each round.
That’s where you guys came in. It was Gavin’s wish to meet them.
We were moved to tears seeing Gavin’s wish come true when he met Optimus Prime and Bumble Bee. The pure joy and amazement on his face was more than we could have ever dreamed. In that moment, my son wasn’t a child fighting Cancer and seizures but a normal child meeting his real life heroes. You gave him that special moment and that will last us a lifetime.
The entire week was extra special as you also gave us the gift of Disney World. Gavin can’t ride a lot of things at other amusement parks but he can ride pretty much everything at Disney World. He is a true believer in the Disney Magic and we felt that the whole week.
While on our trip we even celebrated the youngest of our kid’s birthday at Epcot. Not only was the trip for Gavin but was made special for her to be able to celebrate her 9th birthday at Disney World.
We would like to say from the bottom of our hearts the biggest thank you to Children’s Wish Foundation for giving Gavin and our entire family the most amazing week of our lives. And thank you for making Gavin’s wish come true.
Christi and Luke
Check out Gavin’s Guardian Gang on Facebook