Boy gives $1,000 to neighbour toddler for chemo

Boy gives $1,000 to neighbour toddler for chemo - When 8-year-old Wyatt Erber entered a scavenger hunt sponsored by a bank, he already had a plan for the winnings: to give the money to neighbors on Sequoia Drive whose young daughter recently began battling leukemia.

Trisha Kielty appreciated the kind gesture for her daughter, Cara, 2, but never thought Wyatt would win. Besides, she said in an interview Tuesday, who could take $1,000 from a child?

She remembers what Wyatt said when he called a few weeks ago with some news.

"He said: 'How much chemo will $1,000 buy Cara?'" Kielty recalled. "I'm completely floored by him. To step up and donate his winnings … is crazy."

Wyatt, a third-grader at Columbus Elementary School, said he could think of no better way to use the money.

"I wanted to give it to them," he explained. "I didn't know what to do with it."

Noelle Erber said her son already had a sense of the challenge facing the Kieltys. For more than a year, the Erbers, Kieltys and several other families had been raising money through bake sales on behalf of Cookies for Kids' Cancer, a national organization devoted to research. Such donations are often dedicated in the name of a friend or relative with cancer, but nobody in the group knew one.

That was, until Trisha and Jim Kielty took Cara, then 22 months old, to a doctor for what they thought was an ear infection. After antibiotics didn't work, they went to St. Louis Children's Hospital. The diagnosis came on May 21.

It was acute lymphoblastic leukemia, the most common form diagnosed in children; it has a cure rate of about 90 percent. Cara is responding well to treatments, Trisha Kielty said, which will be continue for about 2½ years.

Trisha Kielty said she has learned the true generosity of her neighbors. Many made meals and offered to help with her other children, ages 8 and 4, while she and her husband spent 17 days at the hospital with Cara.

Rachel Case, a spokeswoman for First Clover Leaf Bank in Edwardsville, said it organized the summerlong scavenger hunt to spark interest in the business. The winner's generosity was a surprise.

"It's just the sweetest thing that he's been playing all summer for her," Case said. "We got goose bumps when we heard. I don't know any 8-year-olds who would do this."

Case also involved Edwardsville Neighbors in Need, which offers financial assistance to local families with emergencies or medical hardships. The group matched Wyatt's $1,000 donation.

The story has been shared widely online.

On Tuesday afternoon, Noelle Erber received a letter from a man in Canada who had heard about her son.

"We need more kids like Wyatt," the man wrote. He included a crisp $100 bill in the envelope.

Outside his home Tuesday afternoon, Wyatt abandoned his Hula Hoop long enough to retrieve the envelope and letter and present them to Trisha Kielty. Her jaw dropped as she read the words and saw the money.

"Oh, my God!" she said, wrapping her arms around Wyatt and planting a kiss on his cheek.

"Yuck!" he said back, using the oversized envelope to wipe his face and then grabbing the hoop to resume play.


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