Boy with rare brain tumor gets gift that makes camping easier

3 months ago 50
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Cayuga County boy, 6, receives camper from Make-A-Wish


Callin Mack, 6, of Sterling, is surrounded by family, Camping World's Kelly Garafolo, left, and Excellus BlueCross BlueShield Director of Corporate Communications Aida Byrne, right, as he receives his camper from Make-A-Wish June 25 in Syracuse.


A Sterling boy is one of five critically ill children with a new camper thanks to a partnership between Excellus BlueCross BlueShield, Camping World and Make-A-Wish Central New York.

Callin Mack, 6, and his family received a 2021 Gulf Stream Enlighten 25BH at special event June 25 at Camping World in Syracuse. 

Callin asked for the camper so he could go on camping trips with his family, Excellus said in a news release. He's especially looking forward to playing on the beach and making s'mores by the fire.

“It is so rewarding to be able to give a child dealing with a critical illness the hope and strength to continue the fight by giving them something to look forward to,” said Excellus SVP and Chief Compliance and Risk Officer Lisa A. White, who has volunteered with Make-A-Wish for the past four years and currently serves as vice chair of its board of trustees.

“It not only impacts the wish child, but their entire family.”

Callin was found to have a rare, benign brain tumor called a craniopharyngioma during a routine trip to the eye doctor in August 2018. He has since undergone radiation and several procedures, including surgery, and will have to be monitored by physicians indefinitely.

But despite the physical problems the tumor presents, Callin is undaunted, said his mother, Brittany. He enjoys Legos and magnet toys, and being with his family.

“Callin is a remarkable little boy,” Brittany said. “To think of all the battles he has fought at such a young age and still remain hopeful, thoughtful, and positive is honestly more than we would ever have expected of him. There is nothing that can take his smile and joy for life away.”

Other central New York children who received campers at the event were Angeliese Parrilla, 16, of Syracuse, and Delanie Zimmer, 14, of Liverpool.

The event was supported by the central New York, Southern Tier and Utica regions of Excellus.

Callin Mack, 6, of Sterling, five critically ill children from throughout the region to receive a wish for a camper during an event at Camping World in Syracuse (Video by Jim Hamilton)

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