Ten-year-old Patrick Foster, of Oak Creek, Wis., likes to draw. He also likes to play video games and run around the yard, until he has to stop and catch his breath because of a congenital heart defect. Patrick suffers from Diamond Black Fan Anemia and Tetralogy of Fallot. He faces the possibility of heart surgery and receives blood transfusions every month.
He is raising money to help send foster kids to Royal Family Kids Camps, a camp dedicated to abused and neglected children now living with foster families. Foster is doing that by drawing abstract faces and selling them at gift shows and online. He understands the value of touching another person’s life — anytime someone donates blood, they save a life like his. He is the youngest of four children — two of whom are adopted from the system Royal Family Kids benefits. Lisa Carey, camp director at Royal Family Kids Camp/ Milwaukee appreciates Foster’s efforts. “He is just a sweetheart. It is amazing how he wants to help other children in need,” Carey said. Foster’s goal is to make $1,000 by selling his unique pictures of faces. So far, he has made $141 of his goal.
Royal Family Kids Camps is a unique program that gives kids a free week of camp, and follows up throughout the year with a mentor program. “We work with case managers of the Child Social Services of Wisconsin, who recommend children who would benefit from the experience,” Carey said.Carey has stories of camp successes that changed lives. “We worked with a young man who was having a hard time fitting in socially. He seemed like he had his own unique style. He lacked confidence. But he performed at the talent show one night and he had this beautiful voice. By the end of the song, the girls were standing and screaming along with him, and at that powerful moment he was embraced by the whole camp. At the end of camp he wrote a letter, and it ended with one powerful sentence, ‘Before camp I wanted to die, and now I want to live,’” Carey said.
Sure, the typical experiences of camp happen — girls get a fun spa day, boys get an adventure day — but on “Birthday” day, everyone gets a party and presents. “It’s all about self-esteem,” Carey said. “It is great because we are geared for ages 7 to 11, right before those teen years. We are trying to give them that self-confidence and self-esteem to make good choices.”
Carey appreciates Foster’s efforts and his ability to look beyond himself. “I think what amazes me about Patrick is that he is a young man who has a heart condition and a lot of threatening health
challenges,” Carey said. “A lot of people might internalize that and think inwardly. He has such a big heart and he wants to give to others.”
Patrick’s mother, Cathi Foster isn’t surprised by his efforts. “He is our bumble bee; he isn’t even supposed to be able to fly. He knows he has limitations, but he will try anything.”
Patrick Foster, of Oak Creek, Wis., did GOOD Today!” Ready to buy a piece of Foster’s special art?
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