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Young La. Boy Blessed With Dream Trip As He Continues To Defy The Odds

Gavin and Justin
(Photo of Gavin and Justin courtesy of Acadian Ambulance)

It all started with a box of crayons.

Meet 6-year-old Gavin Beard. He was born six weeks premature with numerous birth defects – esophageal atresia, scoliosis, limb abnormality and cardiovascular anomalies. But he hasn’t let those obstacles stop him from being an enthusiastic and vibrant little boy!

“I couldn’t imagine our life without him. He is truly an angel on earth,” says Gavin’s mother, Misty Rodgers.

It was all of the positivity that was oozing from Gavin, who has already outlived his life expectancy, that prompted an Acadian Ambulance medic to want to make Gavin’s wishes come true.

It began when the medic, Justin Tabor, and his partner Daislynn Kimball picked up Gavin for an interhospital transfer from Thibodaux Regional Medical Center to Children’s Hospital of New Orleans. That’s when they met Gavin, who said he was “Captain Crayola” and needed some colors so he could work on his coloring sheets the hospital staff had given him for his lengthy ride. Tabor and his partner then made a quick stop at a nearby store to get the Captain what he needed – a box of crayons.

The two struck up an instant friendship. But Tabor wanted to do more for Gavin. So he got in touch with the Make-A-Wish America foundation to try to help Gavin meet his idols: Scotty McCreery, Jason Aldean and Lady Antebellum. Tabor also remembered the crayons and got in touch with Crayola, who were so moved with the story of “Captain Crayola” that they sent a care package full of their new products to Gavin for Christmas.

“Gavin may be ‘Captain Crayola,’ but Justin is ‘Captain Wow’ to me,” says Misty Rodgers.

But the story doesn’t end here. Nor does Tabor’s generosity.

After Gavin and Tabor’s story was posted on Acadian’s intranet, an interactive message board that connects all 3,800 Acadian employees, Terry Arceneaux, vice president of operations, saw it and decided to call on his son to help give Gavin the dream trip.

Captain Crayola from Acadian on Vimeo.

Terry’s son, Brett, co-founded a founded a foundation called “The Blake McKay Fight for Life.” “Their mission is to assist children who have been diagnosed with a life threatening illness, and I knew this would be a great fit,” says Terry Arceneaux.

That “great fit” resulted in the foundation being able to raise enough money to send Gavin and his family on a weeklong trip to Disney World.

 

But the story still doesn’t end here. Here’s where the community of Thibodaux stepped up to overwhelm Tabor, who started all of this but decided it still wasn’t enough.

Tabor set up a Facebook page in hopes of getting $800 to help buy some essential necessities for Gavin’s family home. That goal was easily beaten as over $4,000 worth of donations and support came in!

An abundance of gifts ranging from a new bunk bed to a motorized Chevy truck to a brand new washer and dryer were donated by the community of Thibodaux as they came together on Saturday, January 26th to surprise Gavin and his family with the donations.

“A lot of people look past the small things and don’t realize what could be the big effect at the end,” says Tabor. “What started with a box of crayons has snowballed into an outpouring of support and gratitude for a very, very special little boy.”

If you are interested in donating to “The Blake McKay Fight for Life Foundation,” please visit www.blakesfight.org.

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