‘Lil Bama’ Answers the Call for Help for Foster Children in North Alabama
HUNTSVILLE, Ala (WHNT) – On Monday, Kids to Love–a charity that caters to foster children in North Alabama and Southern Tennessee–ended up at a critical point. The organization had run out of cash and donated items, but still had at least 90 wish lists from children of all ages that had not been filled.
Unbeknownst to the volunteers at Kids to Love, seven-year-old Ryan Kitchens of Athens heard the pleas for help and decided to ‘Take Action and Get Results’.
On Wednesday, Ryan came with his mother and two friends to deliver two carloads of brand new toys to help fill the gap.
Ryan, who’s been waging an inspiring battle against terminal brain cancer, came to WHNT Wednesday afternoon to make an emergency delivery of toys.
When WHNT’s Reporter Beth Jett asked him how many toys he would guess that he brought in, he solfly said, “..about 50 of them.”: That was an understatement.
Ryan filled the WHNT lobby with all kinds of toys and filled Lee Marshall’s heart with joy.
“So many people have called us wanting to help you,” said Lee to Ryan. “And then you come in and help other kids. You sure do have a big heart.”
Since WHNT first aired stories on Ryan’s journey with medulloblastoma, his spirit has touched the hearts of people all over Alabama and beyond. He has defied doctors predictions that he wouldn’t make it to Christmas because of two brain tumors.
Years ago, Ryan fell in love with Alabama Crimson Tide football and the team’s coaches, players and fans fell in love with him, nicknaming him “Lil Bama”.
With an abundance of toys Ryan has received from those who love him, his mother says he wanted to give back.
“He’s always been a giving kid.” said Jasmine Davis, Ryan’s mother. “I mean always, even before he got sick”.
While Ryan gathered toys for Kids to Love, his supporters gave thousands of dollars to the organization so Lee and her volunteers could grant the specific wishes of foster children in 18 counties–children, like Ryan, who just want to be normal.
“We’re able to buy them clothes and shoes and coats, in addition to the toys, just like the wonderful things that Ryan brought us today,” said Lee.
It’s just the latest big difference Ryan has made with the precious time he’s been given.
And Ryan is doing well, feeling strong and happy, despite the tumors. In fact, he’s just coming out of a battle with the flu, which he won.
He and his mom are challenging anyone who’s been following his story to go to make a donation to “Kids to Love–Christmas for the Children”, since Lee and her team are still trying to buy the specific items the foster children included on their wish lists.