It was a less than 30-second blip on the weekend television news. That probably didn’t matter to  5-year-old Joe Joe nor the nearly 10,000 people living in a small southern Illinois town who rolled out the red carpet for the aspiring farmer, who unlike his twin brother, is battling neuroblastoma.

While trying to find a link to this story to send to some people I know, I was taken aback by how many groups of people helped make this boy’s Make-A-Wish come true. The Chamber of Commerce, the local Saddle Club and students from Ss. Peter and Paul Catholic School — located just outside of Joe Joe’s stagecoach route —  were among those who pitched in. The school donated some $600 in gift cards for the family.

Average school enrollment is 150, so that means an average donation of $4 per student. Just goes to show that every little bit can make a huge difference for a family in need of a little boost, be it spiritually or financially.

I’ve been reading similar stories lately about local Catholic school families reaching out to help other children facing illnesses:

  • A seventh-grader at Ss. Simon and Jude recently received the second heart transplant of her life. Fellow students are making practical items and accessories to sell to offset medical costs. Another is holding a raffle for gift cards. Others are holding a garage sale May 18. The school is selling bracelets. Read her story.
  • Students and St. John Bosco in Ahwatukee sold $1,700 worth of bake sale items and lemonade last week. Funds will help a pre-k student who was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia last month.