Kaleb Crawford and family Photo Photo courtesy of the Crawford family of the Crawford family
Kaleb Crawford and family

Kaleb Crawford is turning 6 and celebrating Thanksgiving in quarantine—with a rare form of cancer. All he wants for his birthday is a parade.

MICHIGAN—Thanksgiving is a time for celebration, despite a harsh 2020.

For one Lansing family, their greatest thanks go to their little boy, Kaleb Crawford. 

 “When he smiles, his eyes twinkle,” said his grandmother, Bridget May. “He just loves. He just loves to love you.”

Like many 6-year-old boys, Kaleb loves nerf guns, the Michigan State Spartans, and cooking with his grandma. He enjoys pranking his three older sisters and listening to music way too loud just like his dad.

But Kaleb lives battling a rare disease. 

This year, in the midst of a global pandemic, Kaleb was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor called Atypical Meningioma. This type of tumor is typically found in people much older than Kaleb, so there are not very many studies on effective treatments for children. 

After Kaleb’s first surgery in July, the doctors’ hope was that the tumor would be slow growing. Unfortunately, an MRI in September showed that was not the case. 

They found a second tumor, just as big as the first, which also needed to be removed with surgery. Kaleb’s second surgery was in October, and now he is beginning thirty-three rounds of radiation. 

“It consumes his life,” May said.

Between treatments, surgeries, doctors’ appointments, and COVID tests before each and every one, Kaleb’s life has been turned upside down. Because of the pandemic, Kaleb isn’t able to have his whole support system with him as much as he would like, and his family is forced to take updates from the phone. As May said, “Family gives you strength,” and in times of suffering, it’s hard to explain to Kaleb why all of his family cannot be with him.

Although these may be the worst of times, Kaleb and his family are not giving up hope. His grandmother spoke of Kaleb’s faith and the prayers he says every night for himself and his family. From looking out for his younger cousins to playing in the rain with his sister, family is everything. Kaleb is even known for spending his own money to buy his little cousins and family presents. 

“He’s just got a very bright soul,” Kaleb’s sister Savanna Ruiz said. 

Join the Birthday Parade for Kaleb 

Kaleb is turning seven this week, and his family thought of an amazing way to make his birthday special: They are asking members of the community to help throw the best birthday parade imaginable. 

Because of cancer and the pandemic, Kaleb hasn’t been able to get out much, and for an energetic little boy, that’s been especially hard.

The family is not asking for gifts, they aren’t asking for donations, they simply want the best parade imaginable for their little boy. 

“We’re not all about the gifts,” May said. “It’s more about showing love and showing the support, so Kaleb can see, with the amount of cars we hopefully will have, that everybody loves him.” 

Kaleb’s birthday parade will begin at 3:45 p.m. Saturday, Nov.  28 at the Burger King, located at 5522 S. Cedar St in Lansing. The community parade will drive past Kaleb’s home with their best-decorated cars, loudest music, friendly honks, and messages of encouragement. 

More details are on the “Kaleb’s Birthday Parade” Facebook event page.

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