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Family pushes forward, keeps north Iowa teen's memory alive

"Every time we were together we were always laughing, smiling and having a good time," said Keegan Ulrichs, Caleb's younger brother.

Posted: Feb 20, 2020 10:52 PM
Updated: Feb 21, 2020 6:59 AM

NASHUA, Iowa - No matter what life throws at us time continues to march on. It's now been more than a year since a North Iowa family lost their son to cancer in January 2019.

Jeff and Tori Ulrichs are in the process of creating a non-profit in their son Caleb's honor. It will provide meals and tanks of gas, among other things, for families with sick children.

"Every time we were together we were always laughing, smiling and having a good time," said Keegan Ulrichs, Caleb's younger brother.
Keegan said the two were incredibly close, having an unbreakable bond.
"As close as we were, in general, we always fought a lot but we always had this I've got your back if you've got my back kind of thing," said Keegan.

Together Keegan and Caleb were the first male cheerleaders at Nashua-Plainfield High School.
"That was just him. If he had his mind set on something - he would get it done," explained Tori Ulrichs, Caleb's mom.
That same mindset is how Caleb approached his battle with cancer.

"It was a great birthday present. Tori's birthday was September 5th, and that's when we found out he was in remission," said Jeff Ulrichs, Caleb father.
Just days after Caleb's 18th birthday tests revealed leukemia had returned.
A hard-fought battle Caleb lost his fight much too soon.

"You've always heard it that you never know what it's your turn or you never know how long we're going to be here or anything like that. Now that I've lost my son that makes me want to live every day to the fullest," said Jeff Ulrichs.
To keep Caleb's memory alive the Ulrichs are giving back at St. Mary's.

In December they bought a meal, serving around 70 patients, their families and staff for cancer patients.
"The meals that we shared whether it was in the kitchen or the atrium was very important to us, it was a chance to really forget about why we were there," explained Jeff.

The family is set to serve another meal for pediatric cancer patients and their families on St. Patrick's Day.
That isn't the only way Caleb's memory is being kept alive.

During his courageous battle, 1,000 paper cranes were made and given to him. A family friend started the Origami Optimism Project. According to Japanese tradition if you make 1,000 paper cranes a wish will be granted. What started as a way to show Caleb his community was rooting for him is now impacting other Iowa families.

"It's so amazing to see how many people we can touch and bring inspiration to just from these cranes. It just makes me feel like he is here next to me, just makes me feel happy," said Keegan.

So far the project has received thousands of cranes. They will be put in shadow boxes and given to others battling an illness or going through a hardship.
For more information on Origami Optimism.

Minnesota Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 891099

Reported Deaths: 9406
CountyCasesDeaths
Hennepin1743652015
Ramsey720081036
Dakota65596566
Anoka62204564
Washington39195354
Stearns32672274
St. Louis28594394
Wright25235206
Scott25213181
Olmsted21580127
Sherburne18406126
Carver1620266
Clay11865102
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Rice11172138
Crow Wing10954121
Chisago970675
Kandiyohi9612106
Otter Tail9568124
Benton8767123
Beltrami798592
Goodhue781495
Douglas7642100
Itasca748694
Mower720247
Winona699856
McLeod692983
Isanti678383
Steele666030
Morrison661678
Becker617472
Polk589184
Freeborn548845
Carlton525973
Nobles521254
Lyon517261
Mille Lacs513272
Nicollet507559
Pine498041
Cass490252
Todd480942
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Le Sueur443633
Meeker421057
Martin375943
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Wabasha363710
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Iowa Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 516453

Reported Deaths: 7289
CountyCasesDeaths
Polk80319799
Linn32142424
Scott26637292
Black Hawk21974378
Woodbury20490258
Johnson19778105
Dubuque18515241
Pottawattamie15890213
Dallas15320113
Story1380258
Warren8450104
Cerro Gordo7964123
Clinton7725114
Webster7326122
Des Moines7098105
Marshall669093
Muscatine6645117
Wapello6441144
Jasper619591
Sioux610177
Lee5908105
Marion557897
Buena Vista502149
Plymouth488388
Henry418655
Benton404859
Jones404862
Bremer395372
Washington391463
Boone389739
Carroll367755
Mahaska365365
Crawford353747
Dickinson314655
Jackson307747
Buchanan305741
Clay295536
Delaware294654
Kossuth289077
Fayette286353
Hardin284353
Tama279777
Page272533
Wright266149
Cedar265527
Hamilton259857
Winneshiek258143
Floyd255449
Clayton244459
Poweshiek237243
Madison234525
Harrison234379
Cass233466
Butler232744
Iowa229634
Jefferson223043
Mills220930
Winnebago215938
Hancock214639
Cherokee211347
Lyon206142
Appanoose205357
Allamakee203955
Calhoun196919
Shelby196442
Union191141
Humboldt185130
Grundy183637
Franklin183029
Mitchell182043
Chickasaw178922
Emmet178246
Louisa176953
Sac171026
Guthrie168137
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Clarke160829
Keokuk150839
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Monroe142739
Ida130141
Greene127517
Davis124625
Lucas124426
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Worth12139
Pocahontas120724
Adair114337
Osceola104818
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Taylor98514
Fremont95913
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Adams5748
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