Patricia McDonald felt so confident in her 9-year-old son, Andrew, that she allowed him to conduct an entire telephone interview by himself with a hard-driving, relentless public relations representative – Me.
The third grader from Plano and I discussed how and why he raised more funds than any other male player in the Children Helping Children Junior Singles Tennis Tournament this fall. I didn’t have to speak to him in baby talk, and he never seemed like he had a difficult time grasping what I said. So, his mother’s confidence was justified.
But I regularly encounter kids at Children’s who are more mature than me; so, the fact that his eloquence and composure transcended mine wasn’t necessarily a surprise. What caught my attention was his eagerness to help out a place he had never been to and kids he had never met.
After all, why did he care?
Patricia told Andrew about the CHC tennis tourney in June, because she knew her son liked to participate in tennis tournaments, having played in them since he was 4. Something that made this one unique was its request for each participant to raise $250 for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders at Children’s.
Andrew could have gotten by with just knocking on his neighbors’ doors to raise the amount. He did that. But he also asked his mom to drive him to restaurants around the Metroplex.
“I would walk in and ask for the managers,” Andrew said. “Then I would tell them I was doing a fundraiser for children with cancer, and most of the time they would give checks or gift cards to me. I raised more than $1,200 doing that.”
His next step involved his father, Robert, who identified the top 38 companies in Texas for his son. Andrew sent each one of the companies a letter requesting support with a personal signature. He raised more than $1,000 that way.
Those efforts combined with his online donation page resulted in $3,800 for the Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders.
You’d think he would have been too worn out to play in the tourney, but he finished as the runner-up in the 10-year-old boy bracket. He plans to raise $5,000 next year and win his bracket.
But, again, why does he care so much?
“I want the kids to get better,” he said. “I heard Ken’s (CHC tourney co-founder, Ken Sumrow) son’s story, and he almost died. I want kids to be healthy and not to get cancer.”
Now, that is simple enough for me to understand.