MOSELEY, Va - When the “what should we watch?” talk begins in the Callaway house in Moseley, it usually ends with Disney Plus.
The Callways love watching Disney movies together. The journey their ten-year-old daughter Chloe has been through the past few years may soon land them in California, where the Disney magic plays out in person.
“My husband says the best are like the oldest: ‘Bambi’ and ‘Dumbo.’ We were all saying we like ‘Toy Story’ and ‘Moano’ and ‘Encanto,’” said Emily Callaway, Chloe’s mother.
Emily said she teared up recently watching ‘Encanto’ because it addresses the power of keeping family together. A challenge the Callaways said they know well because Chloe continues to bravely battle a “one-in-a-million” lymphatic condition.
“So many times, her doctor will just say, ‘I don’t know. I just don’t know how to help you' sometimes because she just so complex,” Emily said.
The journey started three years ago when Chloe began presenting symptoms that seemed like bladder issues. But after seeking guidance from multiple urologists, no one could figure it out.
“Finally, we got an MRI ordered from a urologist. When I got the call in 2020, they said we’re very sorry it’s very extensive lymphatic malformation and we can’t help you,” Emily said.
Lymphatic malformation is a relatively uncommon vascular malformation that can occur anywhere on the body, according to toe Johns Hopkins Medicine. More specifically, Chloe’s condition was a rare form of that caused her lymphatic channels to leak.
“So lymphatic fluid carries pretty much everything your body needs to function, including your immune system, vitamin D for your bone health,” Emily said.
The last three year have been filled with unknowns, pain, and procedures for Chloe and her family. Her lymphatic anomaly is so rare the only hospital that can help her is five hours away from Moseley: The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
Chloe still receiving treatment at home but is in stable condition.
“So the last year, we’ve been driving back and forth to Philly. Having many, many, many procedures and trying to fix this. . . Even those doctors say she’s one in a million. There’s no like her,” Emily said. “She is amazing. She’s everyone’s hero. What she’s been through, and she still smiles and laughs.”
“Still have some pain. But it’s better than it was in the hospital because when I was in the hospital it just felt like. . . the days that were the worst it felt like it was never going to get better. But here I am, and it’s better now,” Chloe said about how she is feeling now.
With all the treatment and travel recently, the Callaways said it can be hard to get all six people in their family under the same roof at once. The non-profit Campaign One at a Time heard about Chloe’s story and launched a crowd funding page to do something special for Chloe and her family.
They are trying to raise $10,000 to send Chloe and her family the Disneyland in California. You can read about the campaign and donate to Chloe’s dream here.
“It’s something that doesn’t require water and still can be filled with memories. And there’s a slight chance I can meet a celebrity,” Chloe said with a grin. (NOTE: As a huge fan of the Netflix series ‘Stranger Things,’ Chloe said she would love to get the chance to meeting Millie Bobby Brown.)
The trip would have special significance for the entire family since none of the Callaways, mom and dad included, have been to the West Coast.
Moreover, it would give them a chance to celebrate Chloe’s strength, while also taking a collective deep breath, together.
“We appreciate family time and quality time even more now that we ever have. It’s really put things into perspective,” Emily said.
“I’m just very grateful that I have a community that loves me... I just think that’s very sweet of them and kind,” Chloe said.
“People tell us all the time that her strength inspires them because she’s just been through so much in two years and she still is so empathetic and compassionate to others, even though she’s been through such hard times,” Emily said.
As of Wednesday evening, Chloe’s campaign was about $3,000 short of their goal. To donate, click here.
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