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9-year-old boy inspires East Texans with his selfless generosity


POSTED: Thursday, April 24, 2014 - 7:17pm

UPDATED: Friday, April 25, 2014 - 4:33pm

One 9-year-old boy is battling a rare disease and his kindness and generosity will inspire you.

Jade Kassis was diagnosed with a life-threatening, rare blood disease, HLH (Hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis) and for the past nine weeks he has been in Dallas waiting for a bone marrow donor. This past April 15 was his 9th birthday, and it was his birthday wish that inspired and encouraged many people here in East Texas.

Rows upon rows of comfortable soles line the inside of St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Tyler. Each pair of shoes, a birthday gift to little Jade. A gift he is giving to kids in need here in East Texas.

"Jade told his mother that for his birthday instead of getting presents this year that he would like shoes," said Jade's Great Aunt, Barbara Nichols. "That he could give the shoes to kids that didn't have new shoes."

Jade lives in New Mexico, meaning he is most likely not going to be able to meet the kids he has donated the shoes to, but that did not stop him from making his only birthday wish that East Texas kids get a brand new pair of sneakers their first day of school.

Jade's condition causes his own immune system to attack his organs and he has been at the Dallas Children's Hospital for the last nine weeks with his mom, dad, and two sisters waiting for a perfect donor match.

And meanwhile, here in Tyler, the community is coming together to support Jade, and help grant his one birthday wish. A wish that will allow kids in need to walk into their first day of school with confidence.

"Tyler and East Texas are very giving," said Mitzie Avera, Paul's Children's Foundation. "If they feel there's a need, they respond."

So now, thanks to Jade's wish, hundreds of East Texas kids will have their wish granted also. Jade's family is still waiting for a donor, and they ask you keep them in your prayers.

If you would like to help donate shoes or give a monetary donation:

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