Capes 4 Cal began in 2015 when SuperCal was in the hospital and created a green puppet called, “The MitoMonster”. He was in isolation in the ICU for 21 days at the time and all he wanted was for people to know about his battle against the MitoMonster. That’s how Capes 4 Cal was born and Calvin’s daily fight against it, is why it continues today. Each year, we aim to raise awareness, through our neon green capes, and financial means for families like Calvin battling Mitochondrial disease. Capes 4 Cal is not like any other day… it is a day where you can become a superhero with SuperCal and other MitoFighters to show them that they will never be in this battle alone.
“All we want is for Calvin to grow up…and be happy”
“I don’t care if he drives a garbage truck or becomes president of the United States or a doctor, I just want him to be here and I want him to be happy,” Calvin’s dad, Brian Bertsch, said.
“I don’t want this disease, or what he has to go through because of this disease, to take that away from him,” mom Tricia said. “I want him to still have that magic in life. That magic that he has in life keeps me going and the rest of us going.”
Calvin was born seven weeks early in 2007 with a hole in his heart. After a series of diagnoses, missed milestones, eye issues, and surgeries, he was finally diagnosed with mitochondrial disease in 2010.
“Mitochondrial disease patients are extremely complex, so Calvin, day to day, actually can look quite good,” Trisha said. “We’ve also been told he’s one of the scariest kids because he can swing so fast the other way.
“He can be the kiddo you see riding a bike … once he has his meds and feeds in his system, but then within an hour he can literally turn catatonic.”
Mito is a cloud that hangs over the Bertsch household and controls almost every aspect of the family’s life, his dad said. His parents worry that no matter what they do, there may come a time when it’s not enough.
But none of that dampens Calvin’s indomitable spirit, his enthusiasm, or his zest for life. In fact, Mito fuels Calvin’s inner superhero. With his ubiquitous green cape, Calvin is dedicated to raising awareness about his disease.
He’s also intent on slaying the MitoMonster, which he dubbed his disease during one of his too-many-to-count hospital stays. Calvin’s caregiver Jory Goehle had brought Calvin some crafts to pass the time. He created a MitoMonster and told her: “I just want people to know what this monster is because I’m taking it down!”
Calvin loves to celebrate life. He loves all superheroes, car racing, Harry Potter, music, dancing, and the color green, all of which will be represented at this year’s event.
He lights up that event as the heart and spirit of Capes4Cal 5K.