Dancing in Novotel’s grand ballroom to Sweet Home Chicago Band, one young boy recently captured the minds and hearts of everyone watching.
Caleb Jordan, 13, first took to the dance floor with KidzWish founder Chris Beaven and then with his parents Ken and Julie Jordan. He did so after his father shared his story at a KidzWish Christmas in July fundraising dinner.
Mr Jordan bravely admitted how he grieved when he first discovered his son had Down Syndrome three days after he was born. He couldn’t help but think there would be many things they wouldn’t be able to do as a father and son such as play sport.
Caleb had four older sisters and Mr Jordan was excited about having a son. Looking back now he said what was sad is those thoughts were so misled. And he thanks KidzWish for what it has done. That that is why the Jordan family is so excited about the new KidzWish Place.
Mr Jordan said Caleb was a very shy boy and a few years ago there was no chance he would sit in front of everyone like he did at the fundraiser. Let alone dance.
“There was not a chance we would get him in the room,” he said.
“He would go to his friends parties and he would hide under the bed or try and disappear somewhere...and say can I go home constaintly.”
When they found KidzWish he went along to the music and dance program and to the sports academy. He had previously tagged along with his siblings to their sport and his father’s sport and been a bystander and they wanted to try and get involved in some activities himself.
For the first six months he sat on the lounge with his mother Julie’s lap and wouldn’t move because he was too shy. He did start to eat the pancakes when Chris Beaven brought them out and after about 12 months he started to come out of his shell and get involved.
“And this little shy boy, because of KidzWish and because of the amazing dedication of the staff who want to see the best for every one of the kids in their care, started to no longer be that shy little boy. But a boy who wanted to be involved and a boy who wanted to do things.”
That has helped Caleb in other parts of his life even though he was admitted to hospital five times last year.
Between 18 months and three years of age his longest time out of hospital lasted six weeks.
Mr Jordan said during his life Caleb has been a very sick young man. But many people would not notice by looking at him. “This is one of the problems we faced but KidzWish has been part of him being able to show his true self”.
Caleb now plays basketball and soccer and enjoys swimming, music and dancing.
“He has been a model for Target. He is in one of their catalogues. He has been a model on Instagram. He has found this boldness which came from sitting on mums lap and being exposed to KidzWish. And they have taken my son and brought out the best in him.”
Mr Jordan said KidzWish staff were committed to the new house. And he was so proud so many people in Wollongong attended events like the Christmas in July fundraiser to support the project.
“Keep considering how you can be a part of KidzWish. Because it means little shy boys like Caleb get the opportunity to step out of that shyness and participate in a world that sometimes doesn’t always accept them. I can tell you know that at KidzWish there is always that acceptance,” he said.
“I would like to say thank you to you all for coming. And I would also like to say a special thank you to Sweet Home Chicago for putting it on.”