Saturday, September 3, 2011

2011 Football Season Starts in Little Elm


Today is the first day of football season for LEAYSA. We received word that your football jersey number (89) was retired for this year in your memory. We also found out that Coach Matt's initials and your number are also being placed on the helmets of the team this year.

We decided we wanted to go out to the field for the opening ceremony. Daddy and I wore our Team Caleb shirts and we dressed Caden in your football jersey. It was quite a bittersweet moment to see him in it, but I think you would have wanted him to wear it. Almost every time he sees or hears about football, he hollers, "LOBO BLUE!" He wanted to make sure his outfit was complete so he put on his blue sunglasses and his black and blue hat. He looked like a little rapper. Especially, when Daddy took a picture of him.

When we got out to the field, we saw so many of your teammates and their parents there.  I got a chance to talk to Coach Matt's wife, Jodi. They are coping with his loss as best they can, and, like us, have their moments. We are comforted to know that you and Coach are together. One of your teammates told his mom that the reason Coach went to Heaven was so he could coach your football team there with all your new friends. It brought a smile to my face and a tear to my eye when I heard it.

We were asked if we would join Jodi and her son on the field with the team for the National Anthem and a moment of silence to honor both of you.  I was actually doing okay until we started to walk onto the field and Jodi reached for my hand. We both started crying at that moment. I leaned over to her and whispered, "We will get through this together."

After the National Anthem and moment of silence, we were given a jersey for this year with your number on it. The team also gave Jodi a coach's shirt in honor of Coach Matt.

It is amazing how our community continues to pour into our lives and are now showing that same support to Coach's family.

We love you so very much, Caleb, and miss you more than words can begin to express. Remember, you are always in our hearts and we love you to infinity and beyond.

Mommy, Daddy & Caden

P.S. Honey, please be watching for a few more DIPG warriors who may become angels very soon. Gabby is being admitted to the hospital again and is not doing well. Stella's parents have been told she only has a few weeks left. Oliver's tumor has started to grow again. A little boy from South Africa named Roan will be joining you very soon - maybe even today. Make sure to welcome him and show him around.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month 2011 - Day 2

My sweet Caleb,

Wow! This is harder than I thought it was going to be and it's only Day 2 of the month. I'm reading stories of other children who are fighting cancer and it breaks my heart daily, especially the DIPG kids. As I read about where they are in their journey, I remember us going through the same things with you. It still hurts to remember, but I have to do it. If there is ANYTHING I can do to keep another family from going through this, I want to do it.

On that note, here's today's PSA...


Are you aware? Please help spread the word. Would you do it if it were YOUR child that had cancer? Each year around 13,500 children are diagnosed with cancer in the US. Approximately EVERY 3.5 MINUTES, a child is diagnosed with some form of cancer WORLDWIDE and the unfortunate news is -- it could be your child. Just saying "it won't happen" won't keep it from happening. We never thought it could happen to us, but it did.

Wondering how you can help?
If you use some type of social media, use it to get the word out. Tell a friend or family member (or both). Change your profile pic for the month of September to a gold ribbon or a picture of a child with cancer. Operation Gold 4 Kids on Facebook has an entire album with over 170 pictures that parents have submitted to be used by the public to raise awareness. Donate some money to an organization that supports research and funding. Here are a few...

Wipe Out Kids' Cancer - Dedicated to raising awareness and funding for pediatric cancer research on a national basis. They have raised over $4 million in the crusade against pediatric cancer and spent over 30 years developing programs to not only fight childhood cancer, but to also provide hope and support to kids and families dealing with cancer. WOKC provided us with a small suitcase (free of charge) full of hospital necessities when Caleb was first diagnosed and admitted to the hospital on October 10, 2010.

CureSearch for Children's Cancer - Believes that only research can cure children's cancer. Your support helps fund lifesaving, collaborative research at children's hospitals across the nation, providing patients with global expertise at their local hospital.

My friend, Staci, has set up a fundraising page in Caleb's memory with Alex's Lemonade Stand. ALS says, "Our mission is simple: to raise money for and awareness of childhood cancer causes—especially research into new treatments and cures—and to encourage and empower others, especially children, to get involved and make a difference for children with cancer."  Your donation of $50 will fund one hour of research. They've made donations so simple that you can also text “LEMONADE E76598” to 85944 to make a $10 donation!

And as I mentioned yesterday, Caleb's memorial fund is set up at Children's Hospital of Dallas.

Thank you.
Richard, Angela & Caden

Caleb, you are always in our hearts and loved to infinity and beyond!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Childhood Cancer Awareness Month 2011 - Day 1


It's time for me to do my part to spread the word. Funding is desperately needed to keep other families from going through the heartache and heartbreak we have. So, it's time for my big month of "Awareness" plugs to my followers. Hopefully, they will pass it on and help spread the word, too. Together, we can make a difference and maybe even save a life!

And now, for our scheduled Public Service Announcement:

  • Each school day, 46 children are diagnosed with cancer
  • Each day, 7 children DIE from cancer (Caleb was one of them)
  • One in 320 children will develop cancer by age 20
  • Cancer remains the number one disease killer of children; more than genetic anomalies, cystic fibrosis, and AIDS combined
  • The overall incidence rate for childhood cancers has increased significantly by almost 33% during the period 1975 to 2001
  • Cancer treatment can cause serious side effects that may last a lifetime
  • DIPG, an aggressive brain-stem tumor seen in children, has NO known cure. It is 100% fatal. (This is the type of tumor Caleb had.)
  • Neuroblastoma is the most comon solid tumor in children, there is no known cure for relapsed neuroblastoma, cure rates for children over the age of 1 at diagnosis are less than 50%.
  • Relapsed Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia carries a poor prognosis, 10%-50% survival
  • Leukemia is the most common form of cancer in children
  • Every year since 2003 federal funding for childhood cancer research has been CUT.


The gold ribbon is the symbol for childhood cancer awareness, September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

These are just a few of the children who have been diagnosed with cancer. Some have just started their fight, some are in the midst of the battle, and some have finished their journey.

Please help make a difference in the life of a child. For more information on how YOU can help, go to Cure Search.

Also, Caleb's memorial fund is still set up at Children's Hospital in Dallas. All donations made to his fund are being directed to the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders (CCBD) where Caleb was treated. The wonderful CCBD staff is helping to save lives every day. I applaud their efforts and say, "Thank You!"

Please make checks payable to: Children's Medical Center
(in the memo space put: "in memory of Caleb Huffines")

You can send donations to:
Children's Medical Center
Attn: Kathy Friend
2777 Stemmons Frwy Suite 700
Dallas, TX 75207

Thank you!
Angela, Richard & Caden

Caleb, you are always in our hearts and loved to infinity and beyond!