It took more than five months to grant young Caiden Miller his Wicked Awesome Wish.
His story was brought to the foundation’s attention in early August after he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkins Burkitt Lymphoma. A behind-the-scenes Monster Jam experience was the goal, but plans halted when Caiden was unable to leave the house for the month of October due to chemotherapy treatments.
It turns out that waiting until January — when Monster Jam would come to Ford Field – was the best thing that could have happened.
“Seeing him so excited is just a phenomenal feeling because he’s not bedridden and going through chemo right now,” said Crystal Miller, Caiden’s mom. “He’s starting to feel better, his spirit is up and he’s loving every moment of it. It’s good to see him so happy.”
Diagnosis and Treatment
Caiden was rushed into surgery hours following his diagnosis on July 29, 2014, and ultimately went through six chemotherapy treatments in the following months. Now, after that uncertain time in which his health was in limbo, Caiden’s prognosis is good.
“He had a PET scan in November that came back clear and he had an MRI done on December 23 that we’re waiting on,” said Crystal. “Dr. Callahan from Children’s Hospital, they’ve been amazing, so we’re waiting on those results. Hopefully that’s clear and hopefully he’ll be declared cancer free.
“We’re anticipating that day.”
For now, Caiden is riding high after he and his family and friends were treated to lunch and an up-close look at Monster Truck Max-D and driver Tom Meents. Lady Jane’s CEO Chad Johnson and President and COO Tim McCollum were on hand for Caiden’s experience, and were humbled to meet the seven-year-old fighter.
“It was a privilege meeting Caiden today and helping his experience become reality,” said Johnson. “Seeing him and his family so excited was awesome and it’s great that his prognosis is good.”
A True Fighter
While cancer was a tough blow to take for Caiden, it wasn’t his first obstacle. He and his nine-year-old sister, Riley, were placed into foster care as infants, adopted by Crystal and her partner, Heather McBride, in 2009.
Aside from the realities of foster care, both suffered severe physical and psychological trauma due to the actions of their biological parents. Caiden’s cancer diagnosis placed even more burden on the siblings. Riley continues to worry about Caiden’s health, but with encouragement her fears are decreasing.
“It’s been a roller coaster of a ride,” said Crystal. “They had a rough start to life and then he was diagnosed with cancer and it was something so devastating, we felt like we had hit rock bottom. “He’s been phenomenal through it, he’s fought through it, he’s been a ball of energy, his spirits have been up. He’s kept this family together with his spirit and he’s doing really well right now.”
Caiden’s current prognosis made his behind-the-scenes experience that much sweeter … especially since he then returned to Ford Field the following day to attend the Pit Party and Monster Jam show.
“Wicked Awesome Wishes is amazing,” said Crystal. “Someone actually nominated our family through Lady Jane’s and to know that people out there care and support us, we just feel blessed – ironically – through all of this. It’s reassuring to know there’s strong support in the community and people who care and really want to follow through and see happiness at the end.”