INDIANAPOLIS – It started with a Facebook post and a simple request: “Let’s give him hats, lots of hats.”
Nine-year-old Caleb Lawalin and his family live on the south side of Indianapolis. Almost a year ago, Caleb’s mother Darcie Lawalin noticed that he was growing extremely fast and developing a lot of acne.
She took him to a pediatrician, who performed tests before sending him to Riley Hospital for Children, who sent him to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Tennessee.
Doctors discovered a metastatic tumor in Caleb’s pituitary gland, a small bean-shaped gland at the base of the brain. Despite being small, it affects almost every part of the body.
His cancer is considered the rare of the rare. In fact, St. Jude’s has never covered it before. He is currently undergoing intensive radiation treatment.
When Caleb started losing his hair due to the treatment, his Aunt Shonna asked people to send him hats to take his mind off the appointments and the diagnosis.
The post made its way onto social media and was shared more than 21,000 times. Caleb has received more than 1,000 hats from all over the country and even Australia.
‘It has really restored my confidence in people. It’s amazing that total strangers have contacted this way, ”Lawalin said.
He’s got so many hats that they had to reserve a room in the Ronald McDonald House to put all the packages, since Caleb’s room wasn’t big enough.
Caleb shares his range of hats with other children in the hospital.
“Just reading all the letters and knowing that people were taking the time to buy a hat, write a letter, send it, is great,” Lawalin said.
Caleb and his mother will travel back to Indianapolis after his last round of radiation on Thursday, where he will receive another surprise. He will be home for about six weeks to recover from treatment before going back to see if the radiation has worked.
If you are interested in sending Caleb a hat to his family, you can email it to:
6299 W. State Road 48
Bloomington IN 47404