Make-A-Wish and Lubbock Apartment Association builds a man cave for boy
The Make-A-Wish Foundation helps about 50 children with life-threatening conditions in Lubbock each year, but the wish it granted for Caleb Reimer was a coming home of sorts.
Caleb, 12, presided over the ribbon cutting Monday morning for his new clubhouse, built by the Lubbock Apartment Association with donations from 25 different companies in the Lubbock area.
But to call this project a mere clubhouse is probably a gross understatement. At 550 square feet, the clubhouse has two stories, a balcony, a 7-foot slide twisting down from the balcony, electricity, air conditioning, a secret hideaway, a 50-inch television, a Wii and several games.
During construction, the Lubbock Apartment Association actually nicknamed the project, “The Man Cave.”
Caleb will share his good fortune with two older brothers and one younger brother.
Tristan Thoma, a volunteer with Make-A-Wish and an employee of McDougal Cos., said the house is “the coolest thing ever.”
Thoma estimated the clubhouse would be worth about $20,000, but he said many of the materials for the structure were donated or sold at a drastic discount, and the work was done by the volunteers.
Caleb called the clubhouse “awesome,” adding that it is beyond his wildest dreams, “especially the TV.”
“Legend of Zelda” and “Super Smash Brawl” are two of his favorite games that he’ll be playing in his new clubhouse. He said he has never played video games a lot, but expects he’ll be gaming more now.
A few Legos and toys were already on display on the shelves in the clubhouse, but Caleb said he hopes to add more Legos to the shelves and make the space more his own.
Caleb said he did not want to go on a trip to a theme park when he was able to make his wish.
“I thought this would last longer,” he said.
His dad, John Reimer, told those gathered for the ribbon cutting he was amazed at the magnitude of the clubhouse.
When the materials started arriving and the clubhouse began going up, John Reimer said, “What is going on here?”
He said he doesn’t think Caleb even realized how big the structure would be, although Caleb had drawn up a layout of his dream clubhouse.
“I never dreamed about anything like that in my days,” John Reimer said.
Asked if he thinks he’ll ever see his son again, Reimer laughed.
“He has to come in to eat and to go to the bathroom,” the father said.
Caleb’s mother, Lena Reimer, said Caleb’s health problems began in September 2009. He had an arteriovenous malformation in his brain and experienced an aneurysm a few days after Christmas in 2009.
Although the family lived in Seminole at the time, they traveled to Lubbock for treatment.
“The doctor said, maybe it would be a good idea just to let him go,” Lena Reimer said. The family pressed on and ended up traveling to Dallas.
Because a snowstorm had almost paralyzed West Texas on Christmas Eve, the trip to a Dallas hospital took 11 hours. He spent eight days in a coma and was initially paralyzed on his right side. Then he spent three months in Dallas in rehabilitation.
When he first awoke, he asked his mother, “Am I going to be normal when I’m a teenager?”
She assured him he would.
Caleb worked very hard and came very far in rehabilitation, a process that continues today, although just one time per week. He had trouble eating for the first year, so his mother home-schools him now to make sure he puts on weight.
Caleb is in his second year of a three-year treatment of CyberKnife radiation treatment in the area of his brain where the aneurysm is located, Lena Reimer said, but she added that they are encouraged that there has been no more bleeding so far.
Having the clubhouse gives him a place of his own to go, Lena Reimer said.
“He’s encouraged. I think he’ll love to share with other kids,” she said.
She said her son inspires and encourages others.
“He’s a very loving boy,” Lena Reimer said. “He never complains.”
His ordeal has helped his faith in God to grow, his mother said. He now knows God can restore his health.
Kristin Lewis, a development officer in the Make-A-Wish Foundation of West Texas, said wishes vary from child to child. Her own wish was to visit Disney World when she turned 10. She was diagnosed with cancer at age 8, but is a survivor.
“This is all very near and dear to me,” Lewis said. “My goal is to give the family some hope.”
Lewis said Caleb’s wish is very unique, but she said he will have the clubhouse forever.
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