When 6-year-old Matthew McDonnell told his parents that he wanted to sell hot chocolate to raise money for kids with cancer, they took it pretty seriously. Matthew was diagnosed with cancer when he was only 3 years old–and has undergone three major surgeries, several minor surgeries, chemotherapy, 25 total radiation treatments, and countless other procedures since. To put it mildly, he knows how much of a struggle it is to battle cancer–which is precisely why he wants to help other kids.
Matthew has a rare form of Wilm’s Tumor (kidney cancer). Despite all of the procedures he’s undergone, his mother Linda insists that Matthew often puts others first–which is why his request wasn’t all that unusual. When Matthew told his mom what he wanted to do, Linda told her husband, Patrick, that they needed to “make this happen.”
She described how making a hot chocolate stand all came to be:
“Initially we were considering having his stand in our garage, but then realized parking would not be ideal in our neighborhood. After thinking about it, we reached out to our township and asked if we could hold his event at the local park under a covered pavilion that also had a fireplace.”
However, because of Matthew’s treatment schedule, the family only had one weekend this past December to host the event. So, Patrick quickly built the hot chocolate stand while Linda made batches and batches of hot chocolate. Their friends, family, and local businesses came to their aid to donate paper goods, cookies, and cocoa.
What makes me almost tear up is the fact that Matthew decided against determining a set price and instead allowed the customers to give “donations based on whatever people felt in their heart to give.”
Even better, according to Patrick, there were about 500 plus people who showed up to support Matthew’s Miraculous Hot Chocolate stand. He and Linda apparently even had to go home twice to make more hot chocolate. In the end, Matthew’s Miraculous Hot Cocoa raised about $6,800 in donations, which the family says will be sent to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, a nonprofit which supports pediatric cancer research.
This isn’t the end for Matthew’s good deeds, either. He also wants to create a t-shirt to sell in hopes of raising even more money for kids with cancer. Sadly, however, he may have to pause his plans for the time being, as he is tentatively scheduled for a major high-risk surgery in the near future at Boston’s Children’s Hospital. After that, he will be entering a very promising trial at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C.
We hope Matthew’s imminent treatment goes supremely well–the world needs him!