Caleb medical and recovery fund

For: Caleb Rodriguez
Los Angeles, CA
Organizer: Marcus and Julia
$60,568
of $50,000 goal
100% Complete
Raised by 243 donors

The Story

On January 28, 2015, my nephew, Caleb Rodriguez suffered severe hypoglycemic seizures of unknown causes, which left him with profound neurological deficits.

Before this event, Caleb was healthy and thriving, playing soccer, swimming, memorizing Bible verses, and taking care of his younger sister, Journey. He was completely bilingual (English and Mandarin) and becoming trilingual at his Spanish immersion pre-school. After the seizures, Caleb was in a coma for two days. When he woke up, he couldn’t move his limbs, hold up his head or swallow. He received his daily nutrition through a surgically-inserted G-tube in his stomach, which is still used daily to administer medication and liquids. The brain damage caused by seizures ultimately resulted in complete loss of fine motor skills, an inability to communicate and severely impaired vision. 

Their Needs: Many caring and concerned people have asked us, “How can we help?” Until now, even with Marcus in grad school, he and Julia have been trying to manage Caleb’s medical expenses with the help of family, savings and insurance. However, growing financial concerns have led them to recognize that it is time to ask for help.

Caleb’s ongoing treatment and care involves many peripheral costs that are not covered by insurance and exceed their current income. Some are minor one-time expenses, like a cuddle swing ($100) a weighted blanket ($150), or AAC devices ($200). Other expenses are large, such as a seizure response dog ($14,000), and ongoing, such as insurance deductibles/co-pays ($7,000 per year) and an exceptional live-in caregiver (“Dulce”) who assists in caring for Caleb 40+ hours per week ($30,000+ per year).

Caleb’s current condition: After months of intensive inpatient therapy, Caleb regained the ability to sit, stand and eventually walk. In fact, he likes to constantly climb, roll and move around (with a very unsteady gait). However, because he is legally blind and has the cognitive and social functioning of an infant, he needs constant supervision.  

He is also still completely unable to speak. The only way he can express himself is by screaming. According to the nurse at his preschool, he screams an average of 18 times every five minutes, which at times pushes his caregivers to their psychological limits. Some days he is inconsolable for several hours. The best way to soothe him is to hold him, which is challenging because he weighs more than 50 pounds.

Around the time he began screaming (April 2015), Caleb also began to experience frequent seizures, including tonic, drop, absence, and reflex seizures. On a good day, he has about 20 seizures, and on a very bad day he can have more than 100, too many to count. The seizures also cause him to wake up several times per night, which can also push caregivers to their psychological limits. Neurologists have not yet been able to control his epilepsy with medications. Last week, Caleb had a surgery to install a Vagal Nerve Stimulator, which is like a pacemaker for his brain, designed to reduce seizures.

To prevent hypoglycemic seizures, particularly at night, his diet also needs to be monitored carefully. This is why his caregiver, Dulce, and service dog, “Joshua,” are Caleb’s best insurance against another devastating episode like the one that occurred in January 2015.

Please help our sweet Caleb by donating what you can and by sharing this request far and wide. On behalf of Marcus and Julia and our entire family, thank you for your love, prayers, and support.

Sincerely,

Martin Rodriguez (Caleb’s Uncle)

PS: You can also email [email protected] to learn about other ways to contribute.

Fundraiser Updates

Posted on September 24, 2016

Posted on September 24, 2016

God has been very very gracious to our family. We raised over $60,000 through the unbelievably generous gifts of more than 240 people. We feel deeply grateful to every person who has read and shared our link, written notes of encouragement, and donated money. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Your gifts have helped us pay for Caleb’s service dog “Joshua,” his caregiver “Dulce,” and his recent medical expenses.

Our meal of love at the Ronald McDonald House last Sunday was also a huge success. We served Chinese food and more fruit than I have ever seen at an event. We had face painting, manicure, and photo stations. We also hired professional hairdressers who provided free haircuts to more than 40 children and adults.

As we prepare to wrap up our fundraiser, we want to take a moment to thank all of you for your friendship and for helping us during this challenging time for our family. Your prayers and support scaffold our family’s continued efforts to enhance Caleb’s health, recovery and overall quality of life.

With deepest gratitude,

Marcus and Julia


Posted on August 26, 2016

Posted on August 26, 2016

On Sunday, September 18, Julia and I are serving a “meal of love” to the families staying at the Los Angeles Ronald McDonald House (RMH). And we are looking for volunteers to help us host the dinner and make it super special.

We lived at the RMH for more than three months while Caleb received intensive inpatient rehabilitative therapies at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. During that time, we became close friends with Jason and Amy. Our families shared many meals of love together at the RMH. Very sadly, their son Joey lost his battle against cancer earlier this year. Jason and Amy set up the Super Joey Foundation in his honor. One of the current charity initiatives of the Super Joey Foundation is providing free meals of love at Ronald McDonald Houses.


Julia and I are recruiting in the Los Angeles area who have special talents they are willing to bring to the McDonald House on Sunday evening, September 18. Some examples of “special talents” may include:

  • Face painting
  • Balloon art
  • Live music (piano, classical guitar, violin, etc)
  • Playful photo station (we got an instant film camera!)
  • Manicure/pedicure set
  • Haircuts/hairstyling
  • Massages
  • Chocolate fondue fountain


Please send Marcus Rodriguez a private Facebook message or email [marcusandjulia(at)gmail.com] if you are willing and available. Thank you!


With love,

Marcus and Julia


Posted on August 8, 2016

Posted on August 8, 2016

We want to take a moment to say thank you.


Your generosity has been truly incredible. Nothing short of unbelievable. Caleb’s initial fundraising goal has been met, and the way it all happened was beyond what we could have asked or imagined.


Caleb’s link was shared more than 1,000 times, we received more than 350 notes and emails, and 183 people donated $50,000 in 10 days!


Our stated goal has not only been reached, but surpassed in little more than a week. In the past 6 days, more than 26 people have donated an additional $4,769. There are just no words to express how grateful and humbled we feel by the love, support and generosity that has been expressed on this website.


Our fundraiser even caught the attention of the people on the YouCaring.com management team. They contacted us to request an interview. They want to learn more about Caleb’s story and how they can help, but also how we can help them improve their website. Yes, really! Even the YouCaring.com team has been touched by your response. Thank you for being a reflection of God’s grace and goodness not only to our family, but also the world.


Your donations lighten our stress-load as Marcus finishes up his PhD in clinical psychology over the next couple of years. It also opens up possibilities for Caleb’s continued recovery and well-being. The one we are arguably most excited about is the seizure response dog who will join our family in October! (See our last update for more details on “Joshua.”)


Other examples of how your donations will help include: Paying for medical expenses, insurance deductibles, and caregiving costs, as well as providing Caleb with specialized equipment, such as a safety bed and therapy aids.


Thank you so much to everyone who has shared this post, donated, prayed and reached out asking how else to help. Though we still have a long road ahead, we are unbelievably blessed by what you have done on our behalf.

Thank you!

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