13-year-old's wish comes true as he skates with Braden Holtby and the Capitals

For most 13-year-olds, today was a school day. But for Alaska native Caleb Graham, this day was a welcome change of pace.

His family was flown in for breakfast with his favorite goalie, Washington Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby. He also had VIP access to his favorite team's practice.

It was all made possible by the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

"That's kind of bizarre," said Holtby. "I don't know how you become a Caps fan from Alaska. It's pretty special."

"I was excited," said Caleb. "It's pretty cool."

Caleb suffers from a life-threatening heart condition. He was diagnosed as an infant and has undergone multiple open heart surgeries. It means this diehard hockey fan and Bantam League goalie needs the help of a pacemaker for the rest of his life.

"It doesn't really change my normal routine," Caleb said. "Part of that is because it's been my normal routine. I haven't really known life without a pacemaker. I kind of grew up with it. There are certain things I can't do, but I can do most things."

"There is that part of me that wishes he played in the chess club or be really good at science," said his mother, Tina. "But my husband really feels he needs to live as long as he can live and that's just kind of what we've gone for. He can do it and the pads help protect him."

Caleb's cardiologist reached out to Make-A-Wish on his behalf. When Caleb's mother asked him what his wish would be, he quickly responded that he wanted to meet the Capitals. After careful consideration, he decided he didn't just want to meet the Caps, he wanted to skate with the team and block some of their shots out on the ice.

"It was pretty cool seeing my own locker and customized jersey and stuff," said Caleb.

"To actually meet [Holtby] and visit with him and find out all the things they have in common, with your small hometowns in Canada and Alaska, it's very exciting," said Caleb's mother.

And the best part of the day for the teenager?

"Definitely the shootout challenge I had with Holtby," he said. "It was a fun one."

"It was good," said Holtby. "They couldn't score. He beat me in a shootout competition and everything. The guys put him through the paces there. A thousand shots in a minute."

"People really care about each other in the hockey community," said Caleb. "Make-A-Wish is amazing. They hooked me up with this stuff. It was really cool."

"As you're faced with challenges, you have to embrace them and you have to make a choice -- you can either let it get you down or you can tackle it head on and make the best of it," said Billy Graham, Caleb's father.

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