Thursday, June 21, 2007
What do you want to be when you grow up?: A doctorFavorite food: Chinese
Weird talent: I can make a loud clicking sound with my tongue
Who inspires you and why: My mom because every day she tries so hard and I want to be like that. She really gives her best every day.
In just two years, Reid Colliander of Glen Ellyn has raised thousands of dollars for brain tumor research. But when you talk to the 11-year-old and his mom, Kathy, they both emphasize the support they’ve gotten from their community.
"It’s great living here because if something happens everyone knows and everybody helps," Kathy says. "We do kind of live in Mayberry."
Inspired by Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which was started by a 7-year-old cancer patient and evolved into a grant program to eradicate childhood cancer, Reid started his own lemonade stand to raise money for brain tumor research.
"It first started out as a fun event, and I thought this could be something fun to do while helping kids. It only takes one person to make a difference," Reid says.
Reid’s Lemon-AID started as a basic lemonade stand at Glen Ellyn’s Fourth of July parade two years ago and has turned into a larger fundraising project that involves more than 40 kids, many of them friends of Reid and his family. The group’s latest event, Reid’s Ride for Research, raised around $30,000.
Reid also has a personal connection to brain tumor research. When he was 7, his teacher alerted his mom that Reid was falling off his chair at school and had developed a slight tremor. A scan revealed a golf ball-sized tumor in his brain. Although the tumor ended up being benign, it was in the part of the brain that controls fine motor skills. Its removal led to more than three years of occupational therapy with Easter Seals and vision therapy to try to recover the skills he lost. Going into sixth grade this fall, Reid still has occasional seizures and can’t write but is able to do the activities he loves like riding a bike and playing baseball.
Although Kathy says "it’s kind of the way he’s going to be" at this point, she’s proud of how far her son has come and all the work he’s done with his friends through Reid’s Lemon-AID.
"He and his friends have gone around and given formal presentations to any club that would have them. The fact that they choose to do this with their time is amazing. They don’t get anything for doing this," she says.
As for Reid’s hopes for the future, he’d like to see the money he’s raised prevent other kids from going through what he did.
"I hope we find a cure, like a pill, so that having a brain tumor will be a worry-free sickness, like a common cold," he says. "I want a pill to be made to fix it."
Do you know a great kid age 14 and under who’s done something amazing? E-mail names and information to firstname.lastname@example.org.