Event to help sponsor “Dream Trip” to the Big Apple
Calli Derstine, 14, center, is surrounded by her family, parents, Lucy and Michael, 12-year-old brother Aiden and Roscoe the dog, All vital supporters in her healing process.
A hero is described as a person of distinguished courage or ability. In the small village of Woxall, in Upper Salford Township, lives 14-year-old Callahan “Calli” Derstine who represents the epitome of courage and strength to her family, and an inspiration to all.
To many, Calli’s life is full of hope and the wisdom of youth that only your early teen years can bring. Calli loves to read (her favorites include historical fiction and mysteries) and play the piano. She likes to study Ancient History and Archeological Anthropology.
Calli may have been slowed by her treatments but still finds the energy to play with Butchie, one of three rescued dogs that share a home with the family.
Last June Calli was diagnosed with Stage-4 Glioblastoma Multiforme. This most malignant and most invasive type of glial tumor grows rapidly and commonly spreads to nearby tissue. Today, with the love and support of her parents, Lucy and Michael Derstine, and 12-year-old brother Aiden, she wages a battle against the cancer with results that defy her doctor’s prognosis. She does so with the keen determination of youth - a matter-of-fact outlook on the future and help from family and friends.
It was last May when Calli and Aiden decided to construct the trampoline that they received as a Christmas present. With the help of their father, it wasn’t long before the project was complete and Callie climbed aboard and was ready to jump. She tried to jump but couldn’t. Calli experienced a bad pain in the middle of her back. Perhaps, she pulled a muscle during the construction process. A week later, with the pain worsening, Calli visited a doctor
An x-ray showed no problem but the pain increased, making it difficult to cough, laugh or walk. A MRI was ordered and the news was delivered.
The doctor informed Lucy that her daughter had a very large tumor on her spinal cord. A frightened Lucy broke the news to Calli. Calli cried at first but quickly comforted her mother by sharing a scripture.
A few days later Calli was wheeled into the operating room at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to have three-quarters of her spine removed to allow physicians to remove the tumor.
Doctors told Calli that she wouldn’t have feeling in her left foot again, and that she would need to wear a brace for months. In just three days she had feeling in her foot and tossed the brace. After three weeks in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and six-and-one-half weeks of full cranio-spinal radiation and Temodar chemotherapy she got a short break from treatment. During the time of her radiation treatment Calli lost her hair and Michael, Lucy and Aiden shaved their heads in support of the ill, but spirited, teenager. She may have been slowed by her treatments but still finds the energy to play with Roscoe, Butchie and Scottie – three rescued dogs that share a home with the family.
Currently, Lucy and Calli travel to CHOP in Chalfont twice a week where Calli receives chemotherapy treatment every other week. And, of course, there are still the long trips to CHOP in Philadelphia. Soon, she will begin equine therapy at a facility in Perkasie. The expenses for gas, medical bills, treatments and Calli’s nutritional supplements add up.
A special event has been scheduled for Saturday night Feb. 18 in the banquet hall of the Green Lane Fire Company. It is called the “Living Hope Dance Benefit for Calli.” From 7 p.m. to midnight there will be dancing to a DJ, beer, soda, light snacks and a cash bar. There will also be door prizes and a fabulous Chinese auction with over 50 baskets of all sorts of themes, Brighton products, professional hair products, gift certificates, mystery bags and a fabulous getaway weekend trip worth almost $800. The cost? Just $15 per person and the event is open to the public.
All of the proceeds will help Calli and fund her “Dream Trip” to New York where she hopes to visit Central Park, Kleinfeld Bridal Shop and see the play “Wicked.” She would also like to take a spin in the Marriot Marquis’ revolving View Restaurant.
To purchase tickets to the Living Hope Dance Benefit or make a donation to help Calli with her “Dream Trip” call, email or text Lucy Derstine at 610-999-7324. Checks can be made out to Callahan Derstine and mailed to PO Box 46, Woxall, Pa. 18979.
For more information or to follow Calli’s progress visit the family’s blog site at http://ordinaryoddballs.blogspot.com. It is a story of a family’s commitment to faith, love, dedication, inspiration and courage.