With the holiday season, we’ve felt so much joy here at The Disability Empowerment Center. We’ve also been carrying heavy hearts over the loss of a dear friend and colleague, Caleb Walker.
Caleb was 18 years old when he was diagnosed with brain cancer and only 23 when it took him from us on December 3rd. During that time, among the many things he accomplished, he started A Week Away, a charity organization which finances and coordinates respite weeks for individuals and their loved ones who are dealing with a life threatening illness so that they might find much needed peace while fighting their disease.
The mission of AWA, also perfectly describes what made Caleb so special. Caleb brought peace and hope to those around him, most especially in times when they thought there could be no peace or hope.
The loss of Caleb will remain with all of us for a long time to come, but we are all grateful to hold onto the moments we shared and the memories we now have of him. Some of us at DEC wanted to take a moment to share those memories with you:
Caleb was one of the strongest, courageous, caring, loving, and inspiring men I’ve known. To live each and every day is a gift. Caleb’s smile, drive and spirit will forever be imprinted on within our hearts and we will keep that legacy going. Caleb will be sadly missed.” Paul Moyer
“From the moment I met Caleb, I could tell he was someone special. For him to be fighting his own battle with cancer, and to give so selflessly to others at the same time, was truly a testament to how he lived his life. I only wish I had met him earlier, and had more time to get to know him better. I will miss seeing his face here in the office.” Katrina Stirn
“Sometimes you meet someone and they just have this light about them. This way of talking and despite yourself you feel immediately comfortable once they smile. This was Caleb. When Caleb first walked into DEC, he was in the stages of starting something that he knew was going to be Extraordinary (AWA). By the time he finished telling his story, we all knew it was going to be Extraordinary. It was hard not to get caught up in his excitement and his positive attitude. And how could you not love the fact that he was a Penn State Fan? I loved going over to his office and chatting Penn State! He changed my entire outlook on life. He made me want to be a better person. I still wait for him to walk through the door and high five me about Penn State going to the PinStripe Bowl… Or asking me to tell him an awful joke to cheer him up. I told him I would always have them. I imagine he is up there with Paterno. God only takes the very best.” Melissa Hawkins
“Our hearts are heavy with sadness. He was such an inspiration to everyone who knew him, and he touched so many lives. He will be a VERY MISSED young man who will forever be in our hearts. Rest in Peace Caleb!!! Barb Feaser
If you knew Caleb, please share your memories in the comments below. If not, we urge you to learn more about A Week Away, so we can continue on his legacy.