GAINESVILLE, WI. (WXOW) — A Wisconsin teen received the gift of a lifetime for his birthday, thanks to a collaborative effort between charitable organizations.
Caden Dahl, who just turned 16, was shocked by the surprise.
“I was speechless, I wasn’t even expecting it. I was expecting to come here and help someone else and they got me this gift,” said Caden.
Caden now holds the keys to a brand-new Dodge Journey.
“I’ve never had one, I’ve been kind of bugging my mom about it. I really, really like the interior,” said Caden.
The new ride was made possible by a few organizations in Wisconsin, including the Gilbert Brown Foundation. Brown, who had a successful career playing for the Green Bay Packers, works to support children’s charities through his foundation.
“Gilbert’s like a big brother, just always there,” said Caden.
The admiration is mutual.
“He’s a special kid, he’s my rock. The things we take for granted that he gotta deal with, it blows my mind,” said Brown.
Caden’s mother, Heather Mares, says he was born with a disability.
“He was born with no right arm and a short left arm, severe scoliosis, he’s had 10 surgeries to fix his spine, brain, fingers, legs,” said Mares.
Brown says he has Caden’s back through it all.
“He’s my number one guy, I mean, I know [there’s] probably gonna be some kids that are a little jealous because I did this today for him, but we had a lot of help from Gross Motors and Champions Riverside Resort,” said Brown.
Now, they’re working together to inspire other kids living with disabilities.
“There’s a saying in the locker room and on the field, ‘Don’t run your mouth, show by example.’ He shows by example by what he does every day,” said Brown.
Caden already has some exciting plans for his new car.
“I’ll like to kind of go on a road trip with my friends,” said Caden.
Hee also plans to use the new car to drive to his part-time job. After high school, he will attend the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse and eventually study to be a lawyer.