VIDEO: Superman, Spider-Man pay visit to Rusk boy who is battling cancer

Updated: Jun. 28, 2018 at 1:53 PM CDT
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Pictured are Caleb Whiteley and his family. (Source:
Pictured are Caleb Whiteley and his family. (Source:

RUSK, TX (KLTV) - Superman and Spider-man joined forces to visit a very sick 10-year-old boy at his home in Rusk Wednesday.

Tara Nicole, a friend of Caleb Whiteley and his family, did a Facebook Live of the visit, and it has already been viewed 4,000 times.

"[Caleb] is a huge superhero fan, and we know that his time here is not much longer," Nicole said in a Facebook interview. I had those costumes and put a plea out on Facebook for someone to wear them, and within four hours, I had Superman and Spider-Man show up at his home."

Nicole said Caleb is battling Acute Myeloid Leukemia, or AML, and Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, or ALL. He was diagnosed with the two types of cancer on April 18, 2016.

In the video, Superman and Spider-Man pay Caleb a visit and speak to him as he lies on a couch in the living room. At one point, Spider-man gives Caleb a cup with a straw, so he could take a drink. Then the two superheroes posed with Caleb and Spidey hugged Karen Ackley, Caleb's mother.

Nicole said she and Stephani Gibson, her friend, put the visit together in an effort to lift Caleb's spirits.

Stephen Yates, the man who dressed up like the Man of Steel, went through similar hard times when his mother-in-law, who died recently, battled cancer, and he knew what Caleb's family was dealing with, Nicole said.

"He knew he wanted to help," Nicole said.

Eddie Breen was the man dressed as Spider-Man in the Facebook Live video, Nicole said.

Nicole said that her son and Caleb were in the same class at school the year Caleb was diagnosed with cancer. "It really hits home, especially when your child is their age and friends with them," Nicole said.

Gibson wrote the details of Caleb's battle with cancer on a GoFundMe page that has been set up to help his family with medical expenses. 
Back in April of 2016, Caleb just wasn't acting like himself, Gibson wrote. She said the always-hungry 8-year-old lost his appetite, and he didn't feel like playing with his siblings - two brothers and a sister.

Caleb's parents took him to their family doctor, and blood work was done. On April 18, 2016, Caleb was diagnosed with AML and ALL and given a 50-percent chance of survival, Gibson wrote.

Children's Medical Center became his home for the next eight months, Gibson wrote.

"This once-feisty 8-year-old was put through the grueling treatments of chemo, bone marrow biopsies, bone marrow/stem cell transplants, and other painful procedures," Gibson wrote. "Needless to say, Karyn and her husband accumulated a large amount of medical bills not covered by insurance in the effort to save his life."

Caleb went into remission, and he was about to return to school. He was able to return to his normal life for a little while.

However, he was re-admitted to the hospital in May of 2017, and he wound up staying another several months, Gibson wrote.

"In March of 2018, his family received the devastating news," Gibson wrote, His cancer was not only back, but back with a vengeance. There is no treatment; there is no cure."

Caleb's white blood cell count skyrocketed. It went from 6.9 to 20,000 in a period of about two months, and he suffered from kidney infections. On May 31, the doctors told Caleb's family that he had maybe two weeks to live, Gibson said.

On June 6, Caleb was baptized at Sardis Baptist Church, and he went back to Dallas for a follow-up visit to the doctor the next day. He got a blood transfusion, which helped his energy levels, Gibson wrote.

"Caleb has touched the lives of so many, and he is a true superhero!" Gibson wrote. "His family will appreciate your continued support, love, and well wishes."

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help Caleb's family with the medical expenses. Nicole said there is also a MealTrain page that allows people to take turns providing meals for Caleb's family, so they can spend their time with him instead of worrying about cooking meals.

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