CHICAGO (CBS) — From being bullied to being brave – a six-year-old boy from Plainfield has walked that path this year, even speaking out against bullies. As CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports, now the six-year-old faces another challenge requiring a different type of strength.
6-year-old Ayden Cazares has shown a lot of perseverance over the past year. Now the soon-to-be first grader has even more to overcome.
“I felt like he couldn’t catch a break,” said Nelly Sainez, Ayden’s mother.
CBS 2 first introduced Ayden and his mom in March when she was fighting to get Plainfield School District 202 to do more to stop her son from repeatedly being bullied at school. Other moms expressed concern, too.
“It’s just brushed under the rug and they’re victim blaming,” said another mother.
Months into her fight, but two weeks after the CBS 2 story aired, Sainez says school officials called to set up a safety plan.
“They just wanted to come so that we could build some type of trust again,” Sainez said.
According to the CBS 2 original report, Nelly Sainez said Ayden was kicked, bitten and had his head pushed into the concrete by a group of kids at Ridge Elementary School in Plainfield. She says she called the school, but the bullying continued.
During all of that, they decided to turn a negative into a positive, bolstering a Facebook page called “Ayden Fulfilling Your Birthday Wish,” where he and his mom give presents to kids on their birthdays.
“I want them to feel happy . If they don’t feel happy, I don’t feel happy,” said Ayden.
“We also incorporate the anti-bullying on there because it’s something that’s very important for us,” said Sainez.
Ayden was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect in June and will have surgery next week. Ayden and his mother say they are ready to face this next challenge.
He says when it is all over, he just wants to keep laughing, playing, and giving other kids presents.
“A staff at the school told me that Ayden was an unlucky boy. I would have to say he’s far from unlucky. He’s a kid with a great big heart and very generous,” said Sainez.
Ayden will be in the intensive care unit at Lurie Children’s Hospital for one week following his surgery, then out for at least another two weeks.
His mom says once he has recovered, he’s looking forward to going to school, not dreading it like last year.