By Jesse Dillon, DENVER DAILY NEWS
It is said that strength is measured by one’s resolve — one’s ability to overcome adversity and rise up against all odds.
For Daniel and Amberly Shaw of Littleton, strength is measured in days. Every day they get to spend with their son, Makael, is a blessing.
Makael Shaw is your typical 4-year-old — rambunctious and loving with a contagious smile. He loves cartoons and candy, and tests his boundaries with each. You wouldn’t know it by being around him, but Makael is fighting the battle of his life.
Started last year
It all started about a year ago. Makael was taken to the emergency room after having difficulty walking. Nothing could prepare Daniel and Amberly for what happened next. Makael had a very rare and aggressive cancer called Diffuse Pontine Glioma. Makael was only given nine to 14 months to live.
Shortly after his diagnosis, his doctors started him on a very aggressive and experimental treatment regimen, a combination of steroid treatment and radiation therapy. Within weeks, Makael’s tumor had shrunk and the family was getting back to some sort of normalcy.
“It was going great,” Daniel said. “He finished his last treatment session, and we all thought that he was going to be fine. We knew that this was still terminal, but we thought that we would have a few more years with him.”
That was until one night last month.
“He woke up in the middle of the night with a headache,” Daniel said. “He was screaming, and I knew that it was back.”
Makael was rushed to the hospital. A secondary diagnosis had confirmed that the tumor had again grown very aggressively. Doctors didn’t give him long, only a mere six to eight weeks.
Daniel and Amberly again turned to their friends and family for support and strength. They do not have a lot of money and have to constantly miss work to care for Makael.
Faced with the news that they will be losing their child, they both do what they can to get by. They have never asked for a handout and face each day with optimism, although you can see the toll that caring for a terminally ill child has had on them. They do what they can to make his life as normal and comfortable as they can.
Upon hearing the news of Makael’s grim diagnosis, friends and colleagues of the Shaw family decided to help make Makael feel normal. Everyone pitched in to make the 4-year-old the guest of honor at a pre-Halloween party Sunday, which included some light trick-or-treating and a surprise visit from the “Ghostbusters.”
A dozen children, their parents, and about 20 of the Shaw family’s closest friends and relatives descended upon the Broadway Estates neighborhood in Centennial to help Makael gather all sorts of sweet treats.
“Everyone in the neighborhood wanted to participate once they heard the news,” said event organizer Jamie Allen of Centennial. “We all want to help out this loving family in any way that we can. We wanted to give them more than just a party. We wanted to give them memories that will allow them to look back and smile.”
Makael went from house to house in his Handy Manny costume, being greeted by complete strangers whose only mission was to make him smile and feel normal again.
When Makael arrived, he was shy and apprehensive. When he left he had too much candy, too much playtime, and just needed a nap.
You can learn more about Makael and his story at www.miracle4makael.com. Anybody interested in helping the Shaw family can do so at any Wells Fargo location or by calling Daniel directly at 303-588-8147 or at frosD102@yahoo.com. There is a dedication CD available as a fundraiser for a $5 donation. Call Daniel for more details on that.
Distributed by Colorado Capitol Reporters