When one child accomplishes something amazing, it may serve as an example for other children to follow.
This is one of the reasons 12-year-old Jerron Hoffman of Virginia is spending a significant amount of his time this year working with children who are being treated for cancer.
He wants to make their days more enjoyable while they undergo treatment and let them know that others are thinking of them and truly care.
Jessie Rees, a 12-year-old California girl who bravely battled cancer from March 2011 to January 2012, inspired him to get involved by thinking about helping other children who are fighting the disease.
She started a project with her family to share fun gifts and genuine cheer with others out of the goodness of her heart.
Jerron Hoffman’s main goal this year, aside from school, swimming, and other activities is to extend kindness to complete strangers, just as she did to others.
It’s about demonstrating to children with cancer that someone cares about them, even as scientists, doctors, and other healthcare professionals work to find a cure for the disease.
“I thought about it for a little bit,” Jerron Hoffman told Fox News Digital recently about his goal of helping kids with cancer, and whether he’d pick the “care” or the “cure” for his focus.
“And I decided I’d do the ‘care’ instead of the ‘cure.'”
The “cure” part of handling cancer is left to the professionals, the young man noted — and it “would take really long and it’s not necessarily helping any lives at this moment,” he said.
The “care” portion of the equation, however, allows people to “donate joy jars to kids in need.” The children can now directly experience the thoughtfulness and gift of that present.
Jerron Hoffman will put his emotions into action this fall by actively contributing to a worthwhile cause by raising money.
On October 8, he will take part in an event at Tyson’s Sport and Health in McLean, Virginia.
Jerron Hoffman, his father, Nathan, and many other families and participants will be stuffing plastic “joy jars” with toys for kids — and decorating and tailoring those containers to the children’s specific interests and likes.
Jerron Hoffman has so far raised $30,000 for the Jessie Rees Foundation.
It’s a beautiful act of kindness to help others in need, and it’s even more inspiring when one considers his own recent experiences.
Turning one’s grief into compassion for others
Jerron Hoffman, despite his young age, has already experienced the heartbreak of losing someone he cared about to cancer.
Kim Hoffman, his mother, died last year, just before her 42nd birthday.
In July 2021, she would have been 42 years old.
She fought cancer with everything she had before passing away, leaving her husband, Dan, and their two sons to carry on as a family. Last year, Dan Hoffman wrote an emotional essay about his wife’s battle — and the legacy she left her family.
“Diagnosed with neuroendocrine cancer in January 2017, Kim endured a complicated Whipple surgery to remove a cancerous tumor from her pancreas, 14 months of chemotherapy, a hernia operation, and two liver resections over the course of three years,” wrote Hoffman.
While she was in hospice, “Kim devoted her remaining three months on this earth to our children as faithfully as she had since they were born,” he wrote.
“She ordered their holiday and birthday presents and ensured there was more than enough candy for their baskets when they celebrated Easter with family friends after Kim passed away.”
Her 12-year-old son and her entire family are now helping others in her honor, following in the footsteps of Jessie Rees and her Joy Jars.