A Mother Faces the Challenge All Parents Fear
Chisa Merriweather tells the story of her 3-year-old son's near-death experience through an inspiring children's book
The next thing Chisa Merriweather and her husband Chad knew, their little boy was fighting for his life. In the middle of the park, in the middle of a beautiful day, Chase came down with a rare blood infection, which led to a brain hemorrhage and sepsis. "This was the most frightening day of my life…I felt absolutely helpless," Chisa says.
Chisa knew this was not a situation that a few stitches or a course of antibiotics could fix. "The days of living in the ICU were long and painful. Watching Chase lying motionless in a hospital bed connected to so many machines made me feel as though I failed him."
Slowly, the boy they call "Tank" — because he tackles any obstacle in his way — improved. He went from uttering, "Mommy" to dancing on his hospital bed to Michael Jackson's music. "While in full superhero attire," Chisa recalls, "CJ enjoyed pushing Chase through the halls with their oversized stuffed Batman and Superman attached to the back of his wheelchair."
But, the infection wasn't quite done with Chase. On December 14, 2013, Chase had his feet and hands amputated. Chisa says, "I felt like we had finally hit rock bottom. There was nowhere for us to go but up." Chase looked different from the little boy the Merriweathers took to the park that day, but they were all determined to help Chase reach his full potential. "My last tear for Chase was cried that morning," Chisa says.
Eventually, Chase was given prosthetics for his hands and feet. The doctors told him to take it slow, but "Chase-Man" — boy superhero — wasn't going to slow down for anyone. Today, Chase is the same "Tank" with the unstoppable optimism he always possessed. From superhero to soccer, he lives each day to its fullest.
Chisa and Chase's teacher, Nicole White, got together and co-wrote a children's book based on Chase's amazing story. The two women entered Chase-Man: How My Brother Became a Real Superhero into The Gittle List 2017 Book Competition. (Cathy Reene — a 2014 Gittle List recipient for her work on The King's Dream: A Fairy Tale by Harris Tobias — illustrated Chase-Man.)
Chisa says, "Chase was excited to see himself as an illustration. Cathy Reene was able to capture his 'robot feet' and 'robot hands' so well!" Chase's favorite illustration is of him with his red superhero cape.
Chisa hopes to win a spot on The Gittle List, but the greatest prize is watching the son she almost lost tackling obstacles every day. To learn more about The Gittle List Book Competition, visit http://thegittlelist.com/
Aviva Gittle Publishing offers great stories for children in English and Spanish, including the Kitten and Friends / Gatito y amigos series. Learn more at http://gotogittle.com/
Aviva Gittle, Owner
Aviva Gittle Publishing