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Making a difference for Caleb

Jason, Caleb and Kristi Gozjolko are thankful for all the support from Variety which allowed them to travel back and forth from Vancouver back home to Vernon between Caleb’s cancer treatments.  - Heath Fletcher/Red Door Photography
Jason, Caleb and Kristi Gozjolko are thankful for all the support from Variety which allowed them to travel back and forth from Vancouver back home to Vernon between Caleb’s cancer treatments.
— image credit: Heath Fletcher/Red Door Photography

For three-year-old Caleb Gozjolko and his parents, being able to come home to Vernon between cancer treatments in Vancouver was perhaps one of the largest blessings of their difficult journey.

And without Variety, that wouldn’t have been possible. But Variety’s assistance to this Vernon family is made possible through donations, such as those made through the annual Show of Hearts Telethon. The 48th annual event runs Saturday and Sunday on Global TV, raising money to help kids, like Caleb, and their families.

Variety the Children’s Charity provided more $9,000 in travel expenses to afford Caleb’s family the opportunity to get out of the hospital and resume a normal life, if only for short periods at a time.

“Variety made that possible,” said mom Kristi, a full time “momcologist,” as she calls herself, and whose husband Jason works at Epicor in Vernon (formerly Progressive Solutions).

“The opportunity to be ourselves and sleep in our beds and establish our own routines. We got to go trick or treating with one of Caleb’s friends and there was just something about getting to be a kid again.”

Because for Caleb, since being diagnosed in March, his life has been consumed by chemotherapy treatments and all the nasty side effects that go along with it.

Instead of being told to be careful on the playground, Caleb’s mom would have to tell him things like: “Don’t pull on your eyelashes, they might fall out.”

Caleb has been fighting Pleuropulmonary blastoma (PPB) which  is a rare cancer originating in the lung. His family calls the tumor Timmy, trying to make light of something so dark.

“The diagnosis isn’t very good with it,” said Kristi, as the tumor has a common rate of metastasizing to the brain. “It’s pretty scary.”

But Caleb has been fighting Timmy hard, responding well to the treatment, and is now awaiting results following his tenth, and hopefully last scheduled treatment on Dec. 27.

“We are very cautiously optimistic,” said Kristi, hoping they will be home this week if all the scans are positive and all the “Tim bits” are cleaned up.

“Without the financial support from Variety and the fundraisers at Jay’s work and Caleb’s daycare, Caleb’s cancer diagnosis would have been so much more difficult for our family,” said Kristi. “We have been so blessed as we have traveled this road.”

Variety also helped the family afford their stay at Ronald MacDonald House when Family Residency funding ran out.

 

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