My brother, Andrew, was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor last winter when he was 15. He had surgery to remove the tumor and needed radiation and chemotherapy treatments. He had his final chemo treatment at Children’s in September.
When I first found out Andrew had a brain tumor, I was shocked. It was a pretty difficult time for all of us. I think it was challenging for my parents to care for me and for Andrew, as well as juggle their jobs. What was especially hard for me was that even though Andrew and I sometimes fought, he is still my only brother.
At the time, I had been going through my old clothes and toys to donate items I didn’t want or need. Then I thought, “Why not have a garage sale to raise money for Children’s?” I had never done anything like this, and I had no idea of how much work was involved. I practically spent my entire summer working on it. Fortunately, I’m a pretty good organizer.
There was so much to do! I went through every item to make sure it was something someone might buy. Then I had to decide on a reasonable price for everything. For “big ticket” items, like my Barbie Swan Lake castle, I did research on eBay to help price them. I originally planned to sell only my things, but pretty soon my parents and relatives started donating things as well. Eventually I had a 30-page inventory of things for sale!
We placed ads in newspapers and the reaction was amazing. People were lined up three hours before the garage sale began on the first day. A lot of people came just to donate. Two guys on motorcycles came to buy the Barbie castle intending to give it back to me, but we had already sold it for $100. They still donated the money. My gym teacher dropped by to donate $100 and the Spanish teacher at Andrew’s school paid $100 for a 10-cent stuffed animal.
We had hoped to raise $1,000, and we ended up raising more than $3,600! I was beyond amazed. A few weeks later, Andrew and I came to the hospital to present the money to his neuro-oncologist, Dr. Stewart Goldman, and to neurosurgeon Dr. Tadanori Tomita. The money will help fund Dr. Goldman’s research into finding better ways to treat brain tumors for kids like my brother.
Discover how you can get involved.
This article first appeared in the winter 2010 issue of Heroes magazine.