By Nicole Jones
Seeing her beloved younger cousin go through the harsh treatment needed to defeat leukemia and spend his holidays in the hospital, Friendswood High junior Rylee Burris wanted to do something to help.
Her cousin Jack, now 11, was diagnosed when he was only 6 years old. After three and a half years of treatment, he was set to celebrate being cancer free in March 2018.
Instead, a routine scan found the cancer had returned, and he began full blown treatment all over again.
“When he was re- diagnosed, he was diagnosed with a rare case that only had been found in 4 percent of patients around the world,” Rylee said. “His treatments involve harsh chemo, radiation, and a lot of different surgeries.”
Jack is being treated at Texas Children’s Hospital in The Woodlands, where he spends a great deal of time — including holidays.
More than 6,000 children are admitted to Texas Children’s every year, she noted.
“With many children going through the same thing Jack is, if not worse, we want to find a way to bring joy to these kids,” she said.
As Christmas 2018 approached, Rylee and her friend, Payton Rue, began collecting new toys for Jack’s fellow patients.
“Some individuals that went above and beyond for the project last year were Cole Gordon, Julie Stanford, BAM Baseball, Dr. Dao Dentistry, Anytime Fitness and The Harbor Church,” Burris said. “With the help of family, friends, and the community, we were able to raise over 500 items.
This year, Rylee and Payton are again collecting new books, board games, cards, puzzles, magazines, toys for all ages, video games and DVDs for Texas Children’s Hospital patients. The holiday drive will wind up on Dec. 19.
“If they cannot afford donation items, people could write encouraging cards for the kids,” Rylee says.
Friendswood FFA students and the families of Rylee and Jack coordinate the distribution of items on Dec. 21.
Donation drop-offs are located at the following:
BAM baseball in the batting cages: 1404 Hollier Road, Friendswood.
Dr. Dao Dentistry, 3520 Sunset Meadow, Pearland.
Friendswood High CTE office or Agriculture department.
Abel Veterinary Services, 1419 Moore Road, Friendswood.
Anytime Fitness, 4420 W Main St., League City.
For more information, email [email protected].