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'So overwhelmed' | 300 cards sent to Michigan boy in hospital during spring break

Caleb Hines has been battling epilepsy since he was three years old, and hopes this round of testing will help reduce his seizures.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Spring break in West Michigan. Many people head to Florida. Others spend time with their families trying to find something fun to do in town.

But spring break this year will look and feel a lot different for 8-year-old Caleb Hines and his mother Tanya Van Dyke. The two came to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital Friday and they'll stay until Monday while doctors do tests on Caleb to try to figure out a way to help him with his epilepsy.

“When you see your child unconscious, it’s like your heart sinks, and any moment that can happen. You don't know when it's going to happen. It's so hard," said Van Dyke, describe the seizures her son sometimes experiences.

The scare that led to this hospital visit came recently when the West Oakview Elementary School second grader was riding in the car with his mom.

Credit: Provided

“He had a little mini seizure. He was throwing up. He was unconscious so I just kind of put my car in park and helped him there and let his doctor know so now we're trying to figure out where's the correlation here.

The hospital stay includes hooking Caleb up to an IV which Van Dyke says was "traumatic" for him. He'll also be deprived of sleep as part of his testing. 

"I knew Caleb and I would be alone here for awhile. I thought if anything could make him feel better, maybe someone would be willing to set up some cards for him," Van Dyke said.

She reached out to her neighbors on the Plainfield Township/Northview Neighborhood community Facebook page to see if anyone would be willing to send Caleb a card. He ended up getting more than 300 of them.

Credit: Provided

"The Northview Honor Society got my number. They called me. The Northview Career Center sent a bunch of things. West Oakview. I have addresses from Belmont and Rockford and people from all over. A coconut came from Key West," Van Dyke said.

"He's so overwhelmed, but still in shock. People were putting all these nice puzzles and games and jokes on the inside. Things that you would need to feel better."

Van Dyke says she and Caleb don't feel alone in their fight anymore.

"This is something me and him will remember for the rest of our lives. This means more to me than a lot of people would understand."

If you'd like to write Caleb a card, you can sent it to 3784 Stuyvesant Avenue NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49525. Van Dyke also says she wants to raise awareness about epilepsy. You can learn more about the condition by visiting the Epilepsy Foundation's website.

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