VICTORVILLE – A Victorville concert featuring some favorite artists of the 90’s has tickets for sale now and they are expected to sell out fast.
The concert featuring Vanilla Ice, Digital Underground, Timmy T, and many more, will not only be the most talked about event of the year, but will also be benefitting a nonprofit organization. This year, the 3rd Annual High Desert Freestyle and Old School Music Festival will again be promoted by Sergio X and will be benefiting Babies So Special. Babies So Special is an organization that serves families as they navigate their way through the medical and emotional maze of raising a very ill child.
Cathyleen Williams, of Barstow and the founder of Babies So Special, for many years mainly identify herself as Caleb’s mom. Cathyleen did not plan her life that way, she has a business degree but her life changed several years ago when she found out her baby boy would be born with Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome. Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome is a condition where the left side of the heart is critically underdeveloped causing congestive heart failure. During the nine short years Caleb lived, Cathyleen became his caretaker, both day and night. She learned to provide all of the care that he needed.
Cathyleen and Caleb suffered numerous issues throughout his illness and also celebrated many victories. During his short life, Caleb had over 50 surgeries, 10 of these open heart surgeries. Through everything Cathyleen just wanted to provide her son with the best life possible even with his limitations. Caleb only wanted the simple things like playing at the park, playing with other children, or even just playing without getting tired. His immune system and very limited heart function kept him out of breath only walking around his own home and school, the fear of becoming sick kept him out of the school which was only blocks away from their Barstow home.
As a mother who adored her son, Cathyleen did everything possible to make ends meet while providing her son with the best experiences possible. When school came around in order for Caleb to be part of an actual class he attended via Skype. Still, with the extra costs, Cathyleen knew the financial woes of being the parent of an extremely ill child and thought beyond her own life to others struggling with the same issues. She wanted be able to relax a little and be able to think more about providing him with the best life possible. Soon Cathyleen learned that due to the fact that their Barstow home was cooled by a swamp cooler, Caleb would be ineligible for a heart transplant. The home she rented was owned partially by her aunt, who refused to let the home be upgraded to have central air, leaving the pair with no choice but to seek other housing.
Cathyleen tried many things including making food and baked goods to sell to raise funds, but at some point, her home cooking was reported and she was forced to stop. Feeling as if everything was against her, Cathyleen stood strong and still thinking of making a seemingly negative situation positive, she and a friend started the nonprofit called, “Babies So Special” (www.babiessospecial.org). The community came together including individuals and businesses, including Home Depot and the Cadillac Ranch Saloon. Funds and services provided helped to move the pair, create a classroom, and park-inspired playground at Caleb and Cathyleen’s new home.
Baby So Special was formed because of the struggles Cathyleen and another mother, whose child also suffered from a heart condition. They knew that they wanted to take some of the weight off of another family with similar issues. The mission statement of the organization reads, “Our desire is to stand alongside these families and children and hold their hand as they journey through this often-lonely road of dealing with an ailment. We desire to bring a ray of hope in a situation that seems hopeless. When there is nowhere to turn we will be there. When all the insurance companies and bill collectors are saying no; we will say yes.” With the help of those who support Baby So Special, they are proud to supply families with food, clothes, medical supplies, gas cards, and even for some, assistance for funeral expenses.
Day and night Cathyleen cared for Caleb for nearly 10 years, until March 2016, when Caleb lost his battle. Cathyleen was forced to mourn the passing of her young son, the son that her entire life was nearly based on. Her In-Home Supportive Services (IHSS) income and Caleb’s Social Security Insurance came to a screeching halt with his death, since it was based Caleb’s needs and for the care of Caleb. When she applied for unemployment to assist her while she was planning a funeral, mourning the loss of her son, and attempting to rebuild her life she was denied. Her doctor recommended that she took time to emotionally heal, but during her time of loss the bills continued to come in. The law in the State of California prevented Cathyleen to receive up to 26 weeks of unemployment benefits only due to the fact that those caring for a spouse or child were not eligible.
Cathyleen began lobbying for change, making numerous trips to Sacramento to make changes, not for herself, but for other caretakers who find themselves in similar situations.
Now to Cathyleen’s excitement, her nonprofit was chosen to benefit from the popular, High Desert Freestyle and Old School Music Festival. The most talked about concert event in the High Desert will support the worthy efforts of Babies So Special with the Saturday, May 12, 2018, event. The outdoor event will take place at the San Bernardino County Fairgrounds from 4:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m. and tickets are available now. Food, merchandise, and even a alcohol containing beverages will be sold during the event. Tickets start at $35 for general admission with VIP seating being $85-$125 per ticket. The $200 backstage VIP will get you up close and personal with a meet and greet with the artists, an event poster, a free buffet, and much more.
This article was written by a staff member of the 24/7 Headline News Organization
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