PIGEON FORGE, Tenn. (WATE) — An 8-year-old from Delaware hit a milestone at Dollywood Tuesday, just one year after beating cancer.
Caleb Quick and his family decided to ride 100 rollercoasters in 2023 to raise awareness for childhood cancer. They met their goal when they rode Dollywood’s Big Bear Mountain on Tuesday.
“He’ll say ‘Mom if I can do chemo I can do anything, no coaster scares me’,” Caleb’s mom, Naomi Quick, said.
Caleb was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia when he was 5. Now at age 8, he’s one year out of treatment.
The family had six more coasters to go when they arrived at Dollywood, riding Thunderhead, Mystery Mine, FireChaser Express, Wild Eagle and Dragonflier before Big Bear Mountain.
“Childhood cancer is like a rollercoaster nobody chooses to get on, and it’s got its ups and its downs and you hope to make it through the whole ride together as a family. So that’s kind of one of the tie-ins for us is we wanted to restore the joy of rollercoasters for our family,” Naomi Quick said.
The family brainstormed how they wanted to celebrate the end of Caleb’s chemo treatment.
“My sister, Grace, had an idea to ride 100 coasters and I decided that was a good idea and everybody decided that was a good idea, so we did it and then we got here,” Caleb said.
Cancer has touched the family in more ways than one, Caleb’s dad, John, had beat cancer nine months before Caleb’s diagnosis.
“We saw what it was like, not just for our family but other families through both of their fights and so that’s what made us passionate about standing by other families that are still going through it,” Naomi Quick said.
Now both are doing well, but they want to continue to advocate for those affected by the disease.
“It’s critical for other people to help raise awareness because childhood cancer is considered rare, but when you’re in this world it doesn’t seem so rare,” Naomi Quick said.
The family also chose Dollywood for a special reason. Naomi’s grandmother passed away from leukemia, and the family rode their 100th coaster on her birthday. Quick said Dolly Parton was one of her grandmother’s biggest inspirations.