Caleb Hildebrand, the seven-year-old son of Langham Mayor John Hildebrand, is well on the road to recovery after being diagnosed with stage four lymphoma cancer three months ago.
On Wednesday, November 20, Caleb completed his final round of chemotherapy treatment at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.
The Hildebrand family, including Caleb’s mother Arleen and two younger siblings Jacob and Helena, have been in the Alberta capital since late August, when Caleb was first diagnosed with the disease.
To celebrate his last treatment on November 20, Caleb ascended a small podium while surrounded by family, doctors, nurses and well-wishers. Wearing a big smile, the youngster gave a short speech thanking the hospital staff before ringing a bell to mark the occasion.
Caleb appeared very ‘mayoral’ in his address to the audience, capping his performance off with a flourish in the form of a formal bow from the waist.
John Hildebrand said while the last chemo treatment marked a big milestone, the journey is not yet over.
“We will be in Edmonton a few more weeks until Caleb gets strong enough to come home,” said John in a note to the Gazette on Friday, November 22. “There will be some more diagnostic tests done to make sure the cancer is indeed gone. Hopefully we will be home before Christmas if all is well.”
In an interview last summer from Edmonton when Caleb was beginning his chemo treatment, John explained that Caleb was born with a heart defect and has struggled with health concerns his entire life.
“Caleb had to undergo quite a few heart surgeries when he was very young,” said John. “Including a heart transplant when he was only nine months old.”
When news of the final treatment was posted by John on his facebook account November 20, reaction from friends in Langham and surrounding communities was ecstatic. Messages of support were numerous, with most expressing the hope the Hildebrand family will be able to be home for Christmas.