OAKLEY (CBS SF) — Just weeks before undergoing life-saving kidney surgery transplanting a donated organ from his mother, an Oakley teen died this weekend while riding his bike blocks from his home.
14-year-old Kaleb Vancil had battled chronic kidney disease most of his life.
Despite being only 14 years old, Kaleb knew life was precious.
“He loved enjoying life. He did as much as he could as often as he could,” said Adam Vancil, Kalebs father.
Most people wouldn’t know from watching that this kid climbing rocks, fishing and playing every sport he could suffered from kidney disease his entire life.
He was just one month shy of a kidney transplant after it was determined his mother was a tissue match.
“From day one, when we knew he needed a kidney. I knew it would be me, said his mother Gina Vancil. I would have given anything to save him.”
The hope turned to heartbreak Sunday. Kaleb was out riding his bicycle with friends on Big Break Road in Oakley.
Investigators say he rode off the sidewalk to avoid pedestrians. That was when he was struck by an oncoming truck.
Kaleb died at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital in Oakland. Coincidentally, it was that hospital where he was first diagnosed with kidney disease all those years ago.
“We were almost there. We had been waiting for so many years,” said Gina Vancil.
Now, there are candles, balloons and flowers at the scene of the crash. But more than anything, the family wants to keep Kaleb’s joy alive.
“He would make songs up and sing to me. It was funny,” said sister Lola Vancil
His family has donated some of Kaleb’s tissue to patients in need.
“Hopefully his memory can live through that also,” said his mother. “There’s always a little bit of good in tragedy and maybe that’s the little bit of good.”
Kaleb’s life is measured not in years, but by all the good moments he embraced every day.
Police told KPIX 5 the driver involved in the fatal collision was not intoxicated and is cooperating with police. Authorities are calling this a tragic accident.