If you ever catch yourself saying snarky things like “I don’t know what’s wrong with this new generation,” then prepare to be enlightened by the amazing friendship shared by 8-year-olds Kamden Houshan and Paul Burnett of Poway, California.
Kamden was born with a tumor on his T2 and T3 vertebrae — a tumor so large that it engulfed his spinal cord. And while three surgeries have reduced it in size, Kamden is paraplegic and relies on a wheelchair to get around. But his buddy Paul, who has been Kamden’s constant companion since Kindergarten, doesn’t see him as someone with a disability. Instead, he sees him as plain old Kamden — his favorite person to play superheroes with, eat Happy Meals, and plays alongside in the park.
Both boys are your typical, spirited 8-year-olds — except for when the inefficiencies of Kamden’s chair slow them down.
Paul couldn’t help but notice that his friend’s current setup wasn’t working for him — it was clunky and hard to maneuver. And during a recent visit to a local farm, Kamden’s chair suddenly tipped forward, dumping him onto the ground.
Unfortunately, Kamden’s wheelchair funding is provided by Medicare, which only provides money every five years, and the Houshans couldn’t afford to upgrade the chair on their own. And although Kamden tried his best to stick with the one he had, Paul had other plans.
It wasn’t long before the 8-year-old did a little research and asked his mom to help him start a GoFundMe page. He wanted to raise $3,990 — the cost of a new wheelchair for Kamden.
“His wheelchair has fallen forward many times and that sucks,” reads Paul’s story on the GoFundMe page, ‘Keep Kamden Rollin.’ “His wheelchair is too big for him to fit in his bathroom. He can’t even fit through the door and use the toilet without asking for help. If he gets a new wheelchair … I think he would go super-fast and … we can play more.”
As of July 26, the fundraiser has brought in almost $6K — which is more than enough to provide Kamden with a new wheelchair.
Kamden recently had the exciting opportunity to test a demo wheelchair like the one he’ll receive in August. The little boy who couldn’t squeeze his chair through a doorway was suddenly able to dance his socks off, rocking the chair from side to side at a family member’s baptism celebration.
Thanks to the compassion of his best friend, Kamden will have a better quality of life — and he definitely knows it.
“He’s helpful,” Kamden says of Paul. “He just thinks about [me]. I like to have a friend who just thinks about [me.]”
(Excuse me while I dry my eyes.)
“It truly is a story about friendship and love and what it can accomplish,” Paul’s mother Jenny Burnett tells Babble. “These little ones are teaching us all a wonderful lesson.”
With caring kids like these two walking the earth, I think the next generation is going to be just fine, after all.
h/t: The Today Show