PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -- Machado-Joseph is a terminal, hereditary disease that has afflicted four generations of an Arizona family. When it claimed the life of a young mother, her best friend Janey stepped up to make awesome experiences for the son the mom left behind.
A son that started to show signs of the very same disease just before his mother passed. But, thanks to his mother’s "best friend forever," 13-year-old Caleb and his care-giving grandparents got an amazing day of adventure.
“Some surprise nominations ask for cars or money or help for a special person,” said Arizona's Family’s Scott Pasmore. “But this request is for joy, and that’s exactly what we’re going to provide for this very special young man."
Pasmore and Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad caught up with Caleb and his family at Desert Ridge Marketplace’s splash pad. After introducing himself to Caleb, his grandmother Margaret and step-grandfather Denzil, he sat down to talk to Janey.
“So, you went to school with his mom?” asked Pasmore.
“I was in sixth grade.She was in eighth grade,” said Janey. “Just a normal childhood then as she got older, she was the cool one in college, off to ASU. That’s when she started showing Machado-Joseph.”
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Janey explained that as Margaret got sicker, she would spend time with both her friend and her friend’s son Caleb. On one of those visits Janey’s husband played video games with Caleb. When they left, they told Caleb they would come back to play again.
“Soon,” said Caleb.
Janey said that Caleb is a normal boy. He goes to school, loves video games and loves anything that will give him an adrenaline rush.
Pasmore introduced Rebeca Smith, marketing director for Desert Ridge Marketplace. He thanked her for opening the splash pad early for Caleb. She presented Caleb a gift basket with toys and gift certificates to the Arizona Diamondbacks and Dave & Busters.
Pasmore reached into the basket and tugged on a towel.
“You see this towel, Caleb? Well, you’re going to need it because we’re taking you for a boat ride!” said Pasmore.
Caleb broke out in a huge smile!
Caleb and his grandparents followed Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad to Lake Pleasant.
At Lake Pleasant, the group met up with Pastor John Petri, who kindly donated his boat to give Caleb and his grandparents a boating adventure.
“It’s our blessing to do this,” said Pastor John.
“Anchors aweigh!” said Pasmore as he backed the boat away from the dock and took off.
Pasmore drove the group around the lake, but the real fun came when he put Caleb in the driver’s seat and let him drive the boat! A look of pure joy and excitement swept over his face.
Back at the dock, Pasmore talked to Caleb’s grandmother Margaret about her life of loss due to Machado-Joseph. She credited her faith with getting her through it, as it did her daughter.
On behalf of Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad and Valley Toyota Dealers, Pasmore presented Margaret with a gift of two thousand dollars to help towards future medical expenses and more adventures for Caleb.
Margaret was moved to tears with the gesture. She thanked everyone for the wonderful day on the lake and the much-appreciated financial help.
“It’s nice to see the good in people,” said Denzil.
A special thank you to Pastor John Petri for generously donating his boat.
Arizona’s Family Surprise Squad is sponsored by your Valley Toyota Dealers.