BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Elijah Adames, the medically fragile boy who touched the hearts of just about everyone he met, passed away on Thanksgiving Day at the age of 12. Something important remains from his having been here.
Bakersfield met him when Jeri Carreras, his foster care provider, fell and badly cut her hand. She was bleeding severely.
Elijah, 10, was the only other person home at the time, so he did what he had to do.
Emergency dispatcher Chris Fain talked Elijah through the ordeal until help arrived. His foster care mother was stabilized and bandaged up.
Elijah became the boy hero!
17 News covered the story, but KGET alumnus Lori Lizarraga, now reporting in Denver, got more than she bargained for with this story: She got an enduring friendship that lasted straight until Elijah’s death last week at the age of 12.
She remembers a little boy, a natural ham, full of life.
“For sure, if I know him at all, he is totally eating this up that we are all talking about him,” she said. “He deserves this and he loves this. He was like a superstar and he loved being in front of the camera. … He’s enjoying that we’re keeping his memory alive.”
Jeri Carreras carried on as she had before, tending to Elijah’s special needs — a lung condition, cerebral palsy, scoliosis and other issues he’d had since birth. That was her calling — caring for terminally ill infants. Elijah had outlived expectations.
Dr. Shanna Treanor cared for Elijah from his infancy.
“Elijah was one of those medically fragile children,” she said. “but he really brought the community together.”
Lizarraga said Carreras was able to keep Elijah longer than she might have expected.
“Elijah was one of those children that she took home to sort of usher into a peaceful death,” she said. “And he kept living and living and living.”
But Carreras lived less than a month after Elijah’s 911 call, dying at age 83 of bone cancer three days before Christmas 2018.
Elijah was moved to foster care in Sacramento, where he finally succumbed to that persistent lung ailment.
“It is sad to hear that this little boy who brought so much light, and who made us all want to know him, is gone,” she said. “But ever since his mom Jerri passed away, Elijah has missed her, and anyone who knows him … knows they loved each other and took care of each other so well. … He really is where he wants to be — with her.”
So here we are again, asking that baffling question — why? Why was Elijah Adames given just 12 challenging, isolated years, on this earth? Each of us can take our own lesson from his life and death.
But this much is clear — he lived his life in virtual quarantine, a quarantine that he must have realized was never going to end, and yet he brought a contagious joy, an irrepressible spirit, to everything he did.
In these times, that’s a worthwhile takeaway: it’s not the hand you’re dealt. It’s the way you play it.