Excited to ride his horse, “Tess,” Cade eagerly hops out of the family car as it arrives at The Shea Center for Therapeutic Riding. He runs ahead to the arena where the saddled horse is ready for the young rider.
Cade, at 14 years old, has been a Shea Center client for nine years. During this time, Cade has progressed from being unable to walk or speak to easily running and speaking to groups about his journey to wellness. He’s progressed from being supported by volunteers and staff as he rode to riding independently and without sidewalkers.
Eight years ago, we told the story about super hero, Cade, who loved to wear his Superman cape and relied on “Kryptonite” to give him the power to get through his next medical test or evaluation. When Cade came to The Shea Center, he was struggling with partial blindness, limited mobility, loss of speech, and other complications from a stroke following surgeries for a brain tumor.
Today, Cade continues to be a super hero facing ongoing procedures with strength and courage. He confronts situations with resolve not to let them impede his progress. Cade says, “Horses are a friend and comfort to me. I like riding fast on horseback; it makes me feel like I’m running.”
Cade still has a long way to go, but his balance and movement continue to improve, along with his speech. He is still unable to use his right hand but his parents, Mike and Erin, are hopeful that with hard work, his hand will recover. Cade still has a remnant of the tumor, which is being watched closely with an MRI scan every 3 months, and his parents are vigilant about his diet after learning nutrition’s role in fighting cancer.
Along with riding at The Shea Center, Cade undergoes a vigorous therapy schedule, which includes physical and occupational therapy. He also receives acupuncture on a weekly basis and participates in swim therapy.
Erin proudly proclaims that young Cade is a miracle. Partial vision and slight paralysis haven’t slowed him down. With ongoing determination, Cade accomplishes tasks no one thought he would achieve a few years ago. He plays football with his friends, loves to play catch with his dad, and participates in Little League Challenger Division baseball. He has even worked out with, the UCLA Bruins, who honored him for his determination to succeed.
Mike comments about his son, “Cade has been blessed to meet many athletes over the course of his journey, including Deshaun Watson, Sam Darnold, and Eric Hosmer. What Cade loves most is that these athletes treat him as part of their team. While these superstars are aware of the encouragement and inspiration they give Cade, they are also amazed by how much Cade inspires them as well.”
All these experiences have elevated Cade’s self-confidence. He is proud to be the Jr. Ambassador for the Jessie Rees Foundation. They have provided him a platform to help encourage other kids fighting cancer. Erin notes, “Cade understands and owns the power of his story. Over the past several years, he has had the opportunity to share his story many times.”
“I love to share my story with lots of different people, Cade remarks. “I’ve shared at schools and at businesses. I’ve even shared with different athletes and teams including the San Diego Padres and the Buffalo Bills. I like that my story inspires others to never ever give up.”
The road is long, but Cade continues to show tremendous grit and a positive attitude with the goal being complete recovery. When asked about the future, Cade says, “I want to play major league baseball with the New York Yankees. And keep sharing my story