Kyle is a friendly and energetic 9-year-old who’s living life to the fullest this summer: swimming, getting ready for camp and looking forward to a family vacation. But back in 2014, Kyle had a very different set of priorities. He was focused on surviving a cancerous brain tumor.
After persistent and severe headaches led to a diagnosis of a mixed germ cell tumor, Kyle was referred to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for chemotherapy and radiation therapy, at no charge. Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
Kyle completed treatment in September 2014 and remains cancer-free today. And while he's moved on, he certainly has not forgotten about St. Jude.
A month before he finished treatment, he noticed the St. Jude Guest Services desk — known at St. Jude as the Hope Boat — was running low on the coloring books they make available to patients every day. Kyle said, “I asked my mom if we could put out a challenge on my prayer page and ask for 200 coloring books. Our friends and family started mailing them to us at St. Jude housing, so at the end of the month we had 1,100 coloring books and 700 packs of crayons! Guest Services couldn’t believe how many we had!”
In August 2015, after returning home, Kyle decided to do it again. This time he enlisted his school, local stores, the community newspaper and even radio stations to help spread the word. At the end of the month, he had 4,800 coloring books and 3,600 packs of crayons. “Our whole living room was covered in boxes after boxes of coloring books and colors,” he said. He and his dad rented a U-Haul to be able to drive them to St. Jude, with his mom following by car.
But why stop at coloring books? Kyle and his family also take part each year in a bake sale and a 5K run to raise money for St. Jude, as well as a pantry drive for St. Jude housing and a toy drive at Christmas.
“I'm sure Kyle will be coming up with some new idea of something to do for St. Jude, and when he does, we will be looking forward to helping him,” said Kyle’s mom, Chasity. “We are forever grateful for St. Jude. Kyle is doing really well, and that's because of St. Jude’s lifesaving efforts and our loving God.”
Kyle returns to St. Jude every four months for checkups.