Caroline, better known as Calle to her friends and family, was a beautiful little girl full of life and love. A happy and active 5-year old, she started kindergarten in the fall of 2012. Soon after, Calle’s parents, Rachael and Kevin, noticed that she was increasingly tired. She required naps after school and complained of occasional dizziness. She would trip and fall down for no apparent reason. Weeks later she began to squint and close one eye when focusing on an object. The twinkle in her eyes and her bright smile were replaced with blank stares. Her dancing, twirling, and singing were overcome by quiet exhaustion.
Becoming increasingly alarmed, Rachael took her daughter to the doctor for multiple tests that revealed no abnormalities. Then, on the evening of November 14, after Calle repeatedly fell at dance class, Rachael and Kevin took their daughter to Boston Children’s Hospital. An MRI revealed that Calle had a brain tumor.
The next morning, the team of pediatric neuro-oncologists gave Rachael and Kevin the diagnosis that no parent should ever receive. Calle was suffering from DIPG, an inoperable malignant brain tumor with no cure and little hope. Most children with DIPG do not survive beyond 12 months following diagnosis. Devastated, Rachael and Kevin brought their daughter home.
Then something amazing happened. A friend of the Cronks started the Hope For Caroline Facebook page to gather support for the shattered family. Then several local high school students with no connection to Calle or her family organized a pep rally for the sick little girl, trading their school colors for gray, the color for brain tumor awareness. Calle’s classmates organized a letter-writing campaign to her idol, Taylor Swift. Their community showered Calle and her family with prayers, meals, cards, letters, blankets, books, gifts, and deeply moving acts of kindness and compassion. The story spread over social media and television and soon Calle was in the thoughts and prayers of thousands around the world.
Touched by the incredible love and support they received, Rachael and Kevin started Hope For Caroline, Inc., a nonprofit foundation to support other DIPG families and to provide hope by funding research for a cure.
Caroline earned her wings on July 18, 2013. She fought DIPG with inspiring faith, strength, courage, and hope.