ANAHEIM ( — Roller-coaster fanatic Cale Roschen is still not strong enough to walk far on his own. Over a month ago, the Chicago teen was rushed to a hospital from Disneyland, where he had hoped to ride his 278th coaster.

“Let’s just say it turned into a California Adventure,” Roschen said.

“CoasterCale,” a high school junior, had been saving for months, working six days a week, sometimes 12-hour shifts at his local amusement park to earn enough money to fly to Orange County and experience roller coasters here. The teenager was about to embark on a three-day trip at the Disney resort but came down with a violent case of the flu within hours. That led to bacterial pneumonia and a staph infection.

What is it about coasters that fascinates Roschen?

“I look at other people … Why fishing? Why golf? It just makes me happy,” Roschen said.

What was to have been the time of Cale’s life turned into a fight for his life. His parents, who immediately flew out from Chicago, say Doctors at Children’s Hospital of Orange County had to put him on a heart-lung bypass machine to save him.

“I feel very lucky because apparently I was real close to not even having this interview or ride another day,” Roschen said.

Cale’s mother promises he will be back to take that ride.

“In one way or another, he’ll be back out here to go to the park absolutely.”


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