COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - Caleb Maisonet, who is now 12, witnessed his mom being stabbed to death more than three years ago.
His father could face a sentence of 25 years in jail without parole after being charged for her death. But despite seeing his mom die at a young age, Caleb believes things can always get better.
“No matter what, if times are hard, if times are good, just know eventually things will get better for you as they did for me,” Caleb said.
Caleb’s grandmother, Edna Eagles, took him in after his mother’s passing. But their support system is larger than just the two of them.
After hearing about Caleb and Eagles, attorney Leslie Peters started a fundraiser to help the two make ends meet ahead of their first Christmas together in 2017.
Peters quickly developed a tight relationship with Caleb and the two have been inseparable since.
“Three kids ago when we started doing this it was just kind of -- we found this wonderful family and saw the need and saw what they needed to get through life. I tried everything I could to help,” she said. “As we moved on and started to get to know each other, this became much less of a fundraiser and much more of a family.”
This year, Caleb and Eagles’ financial struggles are more severe than ever.
In addition to living on a fixed income in the middle of a pandemic, Eagles was recently diagnosed with cancer and is still undergoing treatment. She is holding onto her faith as she fights to get better, and believes she has already been sent a helper from God to protect her and her family in these difficult times.
“We wouldn’t have made it without [Leslie], we know God gave her to us,” Eagles said. “There is nothing phony about her. Nothing is prejudice about her. She is just a real, real person. I gave her the name ‘our angel’ and that is what she is in this household.”
Sadly, Caleb knows even their family’s angel can’t give him what he wants for Christmas -- his mom back.
“It doesn’t seem right not having my mother with me to experience the same joys I am,” he said. “But sometimes you have to take the good and bad to be happy in life.”
But Caleb is determined to pay it forward one day -- to have a family of his own who will make the world a better place.
“I want to make it up to them for being like this to me,” he said.
This year, Peters set a fundraising goal for the family, which she has already raised. However, her work isn’t done. She has increased her goal in hopes of helping the family even more as they deal with increasing medical bills and trying to have a merry Christmas.
“We are not begging,” Eagles said. “We are just thankful.”