MERIDIAN - Three local families, bonded by their children's life-limiting illnesses, came together for a very special event - called Heroes in Plain Sight.
It's a superhero picnic at Scentsy Commons that lets families know they are not alone.
"He is my hero because he is a tough little guy and he just makes the world a better place, and he is such a joy," said Alissa Aldrich about her son, Lucas, who has a brain condition called lissencephaly.
When he was just a baby, doctors had devastating news.
"He would have a 50-50 chance of making it to 10 [years old], so we came home and decided to do everything we can with Lucas and live life to the fullest," Alissa said.
That's exactly what the Aldrich family is doing, and Lucas is thriving at nine years old. He even takes part in triathlons with his big brother, Noah.
His mom is committed to making the nonprofit Lucas House a reality in his honor.
"[It's] a place where you can go overnight where the kids can have wonderful activities like hydrotherapy and music therapy and they can just be kids," Alissa said. "The parents can take a little time to just recharge and have that break because it's just overwhelming."
Alissa partnered with two other local families to put together a special day; an event to reach out to other parents with children on the same journey. Megan and Corey Schomer know how it feels. Their son Corwyn died from a rare brain malformation.
"We wanted to do just a family picnic to connect some of the families, and it very quickly grew into this event," Megan said.
Called Heroes in Plain Sight, the event was a day to make connections and find the resources these families need.
"When you are caring for a medically fragile child, you essentially have an ICU in your home," Megan said. "With Corwyn where there was only one case, we were very isolated, there was no known support groups for what he had. That's where this vision was born to connect the families."
The Schomers started Corwyn's Cause to do just that - to help other families going through the unimaginable.
Heroes in Plain Sight event
Karalie DeLuca also knows the pain of losing a child.
"I had a daughter that was born with a heart condition and it was known as a single ventricle and she passed away when she was two and a half," Karalie said. "It's definitely not something that you expect. It's never something that you think is going to happen to you."
Karalie and her husband started the Jayden DeLuca Foundation, a nonprofit that works to raise awareness, and help kids with heart conditions and their families.
She says this event is something that is much needed.
"Just to know that you are really not the only one," Karalie said. "To be able to speak with another mother or father and make that connection with them is incomparable, there's nothing that helps more."
These parents have been inspired to reach out by their own children, their very own super heroes.
"She was absolutely my hero," Karalie said. "Jayden not only taught me to be a mom and not only to love something more than you ever thought was possible."
"Corwyn was a hero because he always would smile and light no matter what he was facing, and we want to continue his light by bringing it to other families," Megan said.
"Lucas is a hero because he endures so many medical challenges," said Alissa. "Through it all, he has that brilliant smile that will light up a room."