Most people have encountered a wrong number text. But nobody’s had quite the same fortune as this family from Tennessee that has had a life-changing experience after receiving a text by mistake.
Tony Wood didn’t know what to expect when he received a text from an unfamiliar number sending pictures of a formal dress and looking for approval. But after providing a witty response to student Sydney Uselton, which included a photo of five adorable children giving a thumbs-up, the transaction was deemed Twitter-worthy by Uselton’s friend, and ultimately went viral.
“I believe this message was intended for someone else,” Wood’s initial text response read. “My wife isn’t home, so I couldn’t get her opinion, but the kids and I think you look stunning in your dress! You should definitely go with that one!” However, that response wouldn’t be the last to come from the resulting Twitter thread.
Instead, a family friend of the Wood’s tracked down the post, bringing it to their attention. The father of six then responded via his real estate group’s account, offering some more information about himself and his incredible family.
Noting that the thread had now made his children “Twitter famous,” Wood elaborated on the members of the family that weren’t pictured in the photo. One being his wife, Rachel, who humorously added her own approval of the dress, while the other was their 6-year-old son, Kaizler, who was going through chemotherapy during the photo op.
“My 2nd youngest (not pictured, he was at chemo clinic) has a FB page for his fight against leukemia and one of our Prayer Warriors recognized the children!” Wood wrote, sharing with Yahoo Lifestyle that his son was diagnosed with pre-B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was just 4 years old.
“He was acting a little lethargic and had a sporadic temperature,” Wood explains of the beginning of their medical journey with Kaizler, which eventually led them to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Mo. “He either had a severe viral infection or leukemia. We’ve never prayed so hard for a viral infection in our lives. So, we went to Children’s Mercy, and the day before Christmas Eve in 2015, we found out our son was diagnosed with leukemia.”
At the time of his diagnosis, the family made a Facebook group called Prayers for Kaizler, where family and friends can find up-to-date information on his health and well-being. And while it’s heartwarming to experience the moments when he’s doing well, it’s heartbreaking to see those when he’s in pain. Like in 2016, when Kaizler ended up near death although he was in remission.
“You quickly realize that treatment is just as dangerous as the disease,” Wood says. “He was having silent seizures, he stopped breathing, and had to be intubated and life-flighted to the PICU at Children’s Mercy. That was probably the scariest moment I’ve faced in my life.”
However, just the next day the Woods took to the Facebook page to share a photo of smiling Kaizler, who followers called a “trouper.”
“If I had half the strength that he does, nothing in this life could stop me,” Wood says of his son, sharing that it’s been harding dealing with the stress of it all, in addition to the financial deficit. “I’ve had to swallow my pride on a few occasions throughout this scenario. It’s kind of a punch in the face, but sometimes you learn you just need help.”
And it seems that from the viral tweet, help is exactly what Kaizler’s family is getting, as a growing number of people have generously contributed to his family’s GoFundMe.
“I’ve been shocked and amazed!” Wood tells Yahoo Lifestyle. “People started joining Kaizler’s group from this whole situation. As far as the GoFundMe, the support has been overwhelming and has successfully driven my wife and I to tears on more than one occasion.”
Having had Kaizler’s donation page open for the past two years, the Wood family had only raised $2,000 of their $10,000 goal. But in the days since the tweet received widespread attention, donations have reached nearly $30,000.
While Wood is immensely grateful for people’s assistance, he reiterates that they’ve been lucky enough to have medical expenses covered by Children’s Mercy Hospital and additional support from Medicaid for his children to go through counseling. But there are a number of other financial burdens associated with this battle, including time away from work and travel expenses associated with treatments.
“This disease isn’t just a fight for the child, it’s a fight for the whole family,” Wood explains. “Obviously [Kaizler] is fighting a serious battle and there are very real issues that we’ve faced and will continue to face. Rachel and I probably should be talking with someone, but finding the time to do that with everything else going on is almost impossible.”
From the help of a number of people in their lives, including nurses at Kaizler’s hospital, the people of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, and now those who are donating after seeing the viral tweet, the children are living as normal a life as they can. Wood says that he and his wife update them on what’s going on, but haven’t gone into great detail, as to “let them be kids and worry about kid stuff.”
As for their 15 minutes of fame, only the two eldest know what Twitter is, and their only area of concern seems to be whether or not they’ll get onto “the Ellen Degeneres Show.”
“A bunch of people have been tagging ‘the Ellen Show,’” Wood says. “That would be pretty stinking awesome to go meet Ellen, but I’m not holding my breath!”
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