by Mark & Terri Rettig
Caiden was a smart, vibrant two-year-old who was the “love of our lives”. He had big brown eyes and gorgeous auburn hair.
Caiden had an incredible zest for life, and lived every day with abundant laughter and pure happiness. He loved trains, reading books, swimming, going to the zoo, but he especially loved his little brother. Caiden had a beautiful smile and an infectious laugh. His heart was full of love and kindness. Caiden was generous with his hugs and kisses….always ready to share affection with his family.
On March 6, 2014, our lives were changed forever when our precious grandson, Caiden, passed away from a ruptured brain tumor. Caiden had a large, malignant tumor (8 centimeters in diameter) called a “Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor” (PNET). Caiden died four days before his third birthday.
Caiden showed no symptoms of a brain tumor. He was sleeping with us when we heard him take his last breath at midnight. We were able to keep him breathing until the ambulance arrived. Within minutes of arriving at the hospital, a CT scan told us that the prognosis was hopeless and irreversible. Caiden was pronounced brain dead three days later, and subsequently removed from life support.
While our hearts continue to ache for our beloved angel, Caiden, we feel blessed to be able to redirect our grief onto such a positive path.
Caiden was a true gift from God, and an immeasurable blessing in our lives. Even though we will not have the pleasure of watching Caiden grow up, we thank God, every day, for allowing us to borrow him for nearly three years. We cherish our memories of Caiden, and we are also grateful that, near the end of his life, his suffering was brief.
During his short life, Caiden taught us more than we could ever teach him. He taught us what it means to be silly and how important it is to just “play” every day. He taught us so much about the true meaning of unconditional love. But, most of all, Caiden taught us the value of living each day to the fullest.
Caiden’s life will live on, even after his death. Three of Caiden’s organs were donated, and transplanted into other children. We are proud of these donations, and know that this last selfless act of generosity would make Caiden so happy. We know that Caiden would be honored to have had such an incredible impact on someone else’s life.
Mark and Terri Rettig created the CAM FUND to combat childhood brain cancer in Caiden’s memory. This week, the CAM FUND has officially joined forces with Press On so we can all increase our impact on the research world. Press On welcomes the CAM Fund and can’t wait to see what we can do together.
P.S. Our goals for ACTION are so audacious they literally cannot be achieved without your help. For the entire month of September, every dollar donated to Press On ~ up to $250,000! ~ will be MATCHED for Target Pediatric AML (“TpAML”), a MOONSHOT project aimed at identifying genomic targets for pediatric Acute Myeloid Leukemia patients so that researchers can create specific, targeted treatments. These targeted ~ and consequently less toxic ~ treatments FOR KIDS are what Press On is all about! Please, if you are comfortable doing so, take just a few minutes of your time to DONATE NOW and SHARE today’s blog post on your Facebook page, or share via personal email with friends whom you believe have the passion to help us make a difference.
Thank you for supporting the Press On Fund!