TYLER (KYTX) - An eight-year-old boy battling a rare blood condition has one birthday wish. Jade Kassis is asking East Texans to donate shoes for less fortunate children.
Jade has a very rare blood condition called HLH. He's in Dallas Children's Hospital right now and needs a bone marrow transplant to live.
In spite of all this, he says he just wants to help other kids his age. He's asking for shoes for East Texas children in need. And, the donations are already pouring in...
130 pairs of shoes and counting can be found at St. Paul's United Methodist Church in Tyler.
The new shoes will be given to local children in need for the upcoming school year.
This was Jade Kassis's wish for his ninth birthday, but his great aunt says that was two months ago, before he spent his days in the hospital fighting HLH. It's a rare condition that causes his immune system to damage his own tissues and organs.
"About a week ago, Cindy, his mother, said 'Jade, now, what about your birthday coming up?' He said, 'well, did you not remember?' She said, 'remember what?' He said, 'that we were going to do shoes!'"
Great aunt Barbara Nichols says that didn't surprise her about jade.
"He's always been a loving little boy. And, this is just his nature."
Church member Patsy Lewis says Jade has no idea just how many shoes they've collected from the community already.
"I think it's remarkable. The people who are giving the money do not even know Jade. We don't know Jade. We don't know him through his extended family here in Tyler, but Jade doesn't know the children receiving shoes either. So, it's just a thing about caring enough to want to help."
"I'm very proud of Jade." says Nichols. "And, he's a brave little boy, what he's going through, he's a brave little boy."
Jade is expected to receive a bone marrow transplant soon. If it all goes well-- the donor will be his four year old younger sister!
If you would like to help Jade and children in East Texas, you can drop of new tennis shoes or monetary donations at St. Paul's United Methodist Church or St. Paul Children's Foundation through August.
The shoe drive will coincide with St. Paul's annual "Khakis for Kids" back-to-school program.
The goal is to collect 700 pairs of shoes for East Texas children in need this summer.