We first met Cal Sutter through his parents in July 2005.
Both a fan of baseball and a solid player, the energetic 12-year-old had been picked to play on the All-Star squad of his South Elgin Little League team.
Around the same time, he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. He would never be able to play in the big game because he was stuck in the hospital bed.
Despite an incredible outpouring of support around and beyond and the efforts of his doctors, Cal would only last 13 months. He died on August 28, 2006.
But his story didn’t end there. Out of the tragedy, his family founded Cal’s Angels the following year, a childhood cancer foundation that has since raised money, granted wishes, promoted awareness and funded research.
It started a movement in the fight against childhood cancer.
Cal’s family has never given up, never stopped fighting the disease that stole him from them.
Cal was a caring boy. He would have appreciated the giving that inspires him to this day.
He even inspired a new law named after him. Gov. JB Pritzker signed it last week on the 15th anniversary of Cal’s death.
The law ensures that children diagnosed with cancer are approved for comprehensive cancer testing, including DNA sequencing, based on their doctor’s advice and not on the prior approval of insurance companies.
To date, this has been done almost exclusively for adults. Tailoring treatments can help save some of the horrors of radiation and chemotherapy that may not do you any good.
According to cancer.net, it is estimated that more than 10,500 children under the age of 15 in the US will be diagnosed with cancer this year.
Cal’s Angels is excited about the new law. But his efforts don’t stop there.
“We will continue to make this a priority in every state that moves forward,” Cal’s stepmother and co-founder of Cal’s Angels and President Stacey Wahlberg said in a press release. “The legislation passed is an incredible tribute to Cal and a natural extension of the work we do at Cal’s Angels. We believe lives can be saved by increasing access to diagnostic tests for children with cancer.”
The bill’s sponsor is Seth Lewis, the freshman member of Bartlett’s house who, coincidentally, began his oversight of Bartlett’s Little League program alongside South Elgin the year Cal’s Angels was formed.
“As a freshman legislator, I wanted to go out and advocate for legislation that makes a difference in people’s lives,” Lewis said.
We hope it makes a difference too.
Visit calsangels.org to find out how you can help.