B+ Hero Caleb & AEPi Fraternity

This past October, the Alpha Epsilon Pi Fraternity at the University of Delaware was paired with a B+ Hero through The B+ Foundation’s B+ Hero Pairing Program! The brothers of AEPi have quickly built an inspiring and powerful relationship with B+ Hero Caleb.

In July 2020, B+ Hero Caleb had frequently elevated temperatures which his pediatrician attributed to a ‘summer virus’. He eventually began to experience difficulty walking due to knee pain. By August 2020, his mom thought it could be Lymes Disease, until B+ Hero Caleb began screaming in pain. His pediatrician then said they could run blood work in the morning, but his mom decided to take him to the Emergency Room. His mom, Naomi, remembers asking the doctors if in the worst case scenario, he has Leukemia, would they know tonight? The doctors replied yes.

Around midnight, the ER Doctor informed Naomi that they cannot discuss the blood work results, but someone else is coming to talk to her about it. She asked “is it cancer?” and the doctor replied, “It’s the oncologist coming to talk to you.” 

Days later, when the results of B+ Hero Caleb’s bone marrow aspirate came back, he was officially diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and did not leave the hospital for 22 more days.

Once B+ Hero Caleb was finally home, his arm was swollen and Naomi brought him back to the hospital where they discovered 3 blood clots in his central line and he began blood thinners. The blood thinners made everything more dangerous for him as he was susceptible to injury.

Finally in April 2021, B+ Hero Caleb began maintenance treatment and was able to stop taking blood thinners, which opened up a lot more opportunities for positive experiences. When B+ Hero Caleb and his family had just returned from a road trip to see family in Minnesota, Naomi recalled being informed about The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation, thinking this could be one of his potential new joyful experiences. Naomi reached out to The B+ Foundation for information and B+ Hero Caleb was quickly matched with the brothers of AEPi Fraternity. 

The first time they planned to meet up with AEPi, B+ Hero Caleb’s mom felt a bit confused about the concept of her 6-year-old son hanging out with a group of college fraternity men. However, she explained that the brothers of AEPi “surpassed what [she] could even imagine for a role model for Caleb”, she continued, “They've been great with Caleb, but they've also been great with the rest of Caleb’s 6 siblings and took the time to make them all feel important and heard.” She described how significant this was for her and her family when she shared, “It’s really hard for siblings when one of them goes through cancer because all the focus is on the child, so it was very intuitive for the AEPi brothers to know to care for the siblings equally.”

B+ Hero Caleb was described by his mother as reserved when he first meets people. However, she described that the first time he met the brothers of AEPi, it was so comfortable for B+ Hero Caleb. He was showing them tricks at the park, and the brothers interacting with him came so naturally.

Jeremy Reissman, Brother of AEPi shared, “Getting to spend time with B+ Hero Caleb has been so rewarding. I love the relationship we are lucky enough to be establishing with him and his wonderful family! I remember the first-day meeting Caleb and his amazing family; playing ball in the park was so fun!”

Since October, B+ Hero Caleb has required a lot more frequent laundry. Why? His mom, Naomi shared that she had to do more frequent loads of laundry for B+ Hero Caleb because he always insisted on having a clean AEPi shirt to wear, especially for hospital visits. He always insists on wearing a shirt to his appointments so he can tell the doctors about “his guys”.

Naomi described the significance of this pairing by depicting, “He’s had a cheer squad in his siblings from the beginning, but it's nice to have someone outside the family cheering him on. That's why the pairing with AEPi was so significant. He gets to just have a normal and fun relationship with them and it's not centered around hospital visits.”

One of the most sentimental memories Naomi shared about B+ Hero Caleb and AEPi’s experiences together so far, is that other than their family, Sam Diamond (AEPi UDance Representative), has checked in on B+ Hero Caleb more than anyone else since they were matched with him. She explained, “Everytime they have an appointment for Caleb, Sam will reach out and check on how he is and how it went.” 


Sam shared a glimpse into his experience as a member and UDance Rep for AEPi, “Getting to know and spend time with Caleb and his family has been so much fun and I could not ask for a better experience. From the first time we met them, I knew his family was the perfect fit for us.” He continued, “It also warms my heart to receive texts and videos from Caleb's mom about something Caleb and his siblings wanted to say to either me or the rest of the chapter. Even today when I texted his mom to check-in, everyone shouted ‘Hi Sam’. Little interactions like this make me smile and I cannot wait for even more to come!”

Naomi also shared a Christmas memory with AEPi. The boys of the family received tickets to a Flyers game as their biggest present. One of her boys was running a high fever, and they had to cancel their plans for the game. The AEPi Reps texted B+ Hero Caleb’s mom and asked if they could drop something off. Naomi said she told them they had already done enough for Christmas when they bought B+ Hero Caleb a custom AEPi Skateboard with his name on it. Nonetheless, the AEPi brothers showed up a few minutes later and dropped off an Air Hockey table. They explained that they know how much the boys love hockey, and since they weren’t able to attend their hockey game tonight, they brought this instead.

Not only has the relationship between B+ Hero Caleb and AEPi shown their care for their B+ Hero, but the care is reciprocated. Naomi explained that when she heard of COVID cases rising in the area, she was worried about the AEPi brothers. She explained, “I barely even know some of these students but they’re Caleb’s ‘guys’, and I was genuinely worried.”

AEPi has gone above and beyond in making the most of their pairing with B+ Hero Caleb, and it does not go unnoticed or under-appreciated. Both times they hung out with B+ Hero Caleb, his mom shared that he told her “That was the best day of my life”. At 6-years-old and going through so much, B+ Hero Caleb even told his mom he was almost grateful for getting cancer because he would not have been able to meet his new friends if that did not happen.

Thank you to AEPi for all of their dedication even prior to their B+ Hero pairing. We are so thrilled to see their relationship with B+ Hero Caleb grow!


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