The mission to give Isaac Juarez and his family the best summer ever continued on Monday night, at the Alamo Drafthouse Cinema.
Isaac, 6, is diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a cancerous tumor that began in the region of his brain, at the base of his skull.
He was going through treatment at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital earlier this year, but then in June, he was placed on hospice care.
That’s when Abbie Maberry of Moms of New Braunfels began planning with community members to help give Isaac and his family the best summer ever.
While the family did receive some items such as tickets to Schlitterbahn and a two-night stay at the Mountain Oaks Retreat in Canyon Lake, more awaited the Juarez family on Monday night.
It began with Isaac’s enlistment to the United States Army.
In front of the attendees, Sergeant 1st Class Adam Pate had Isaac try out for the organization.
“Can you stand in attention? Nice and straight for me,” Pate said.
Isaac stood up straight, and placed his arms by his side.
Next, Pate asked him if he could march for him.
Isaac marched, and the crowd cheered.
“Can you run in place for me?”
Isaac then ran a circle around Pate.
“Alright, you’re pretty quick.”
Lastly, he told Isaac to do a salute, and Isaac followed his order.
“Isaac, looks like you know what it takes to be a soldier,” Pate said.
Isaac was then issued his own Army uniform with nametapes, and U.S. Army Captain Martin Garza swore him in.
“He loves the military,” Maberry said in June, explaining she had been making calls to recruiters to see what they could do for Isaac.
Sergeant 1st Class Lance Masias said when he received the call about the event, he knew the Army wanted to do more than just show up and be present.
“In the (recruiting) station, we all came together and came up with this idea and it turned out very good,” he said.
After the swearing-in ceremony, the Juarez family and other attendees watched a private screening of “Toy Story 4.”
After the movie ended, the New Braunfels Police Department arrived with its own surprise.
NBPD Community Relations Officer Lucas Crawford approached Isaac and kneeled down.
As he held up a challenge coin, and Crawford told Isaac how it was started by the Army a long ago.
“And what this means is that you rose up to any adversity,” Crawford said. “And you did a wonderful job and we’re really, really proud of you. And if you ever need anything from the PD, you come see us and we’ll take care of you.”
Crawford said when he received the phone call from Maberry about participating in Isaac’s event, his first thought was how heroic Isaac was.
“That he had to overcome such a profoundly impactful moment, and he’s handling it with such grace and beauty, I can’t imagine a better event to be a part of,” Crawford said.
Let it snow, let it snow
Afterward, the Army and NBPD walked alongside Isaac and his family as they exited the theater. While they had been watching “Toy Story 4,” Mireles Party Ice arrived with 6,000 pounds of ice, and later, Bahama Bucks arrived with 400 manmade snowballs. When the family got outside, they were met with flashing red, white and blue police lights, and the Mireles crew topping the grassy median with snow.
Soon, everyone — from the Juarez family to the attendees and NBPD — were making snow angels, throwing snowballs and making snowmen.
Elida, Isaac’s mother, said this is going to be the best summer ever, and she wanted to thank the community for helping to bring it all together.
“We’ve never done much in the summers, especially these past three years,” she said. “Every summer it’s been, hospital, hospital, hospital.”
She’s glad that the family is getting to do things, but at the same time sad because he’s no longer in treatment.
“But as long as he’s having fun, I’m good with that.”
She was overcome with emotion when the Army swore her son in, because Isaac’s dream is to be a soldier.
“I wanted to cry,” Elida said. “I can’t believe his dream came true. I hope I get to see him grow up. I don’t want it to end.”
She said miracles happen, and she and the family hope they get one for him.