One high-school cancer survivor is using his school work to give toys to children with cancer.
Corey Walker, an 18-year-old senior at Buhler High School about 55 miles northwest of Wichita, raised $1,705 for his senior project to buy toys for the Wesley Medical Center pediatric department, pediatric oncologist David Rosen’s office within Wesley, and the Via Christi pediatric unit.
“No matter how small it is, it’s something that will brighten up their day and make them feel a little better,” Walker said.
On Valentine’s Day 2001, when Walker was 4 years old, he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s North American Burkitt lymphoma, stage 3 – a cancer of the lymphatic system. He was cancer-free by July that same year.
“The first few days, friends and family came showering me with gifts and toys,” he said. “I still have some of them, the really sentimental ones. I think that’s contributed to me wanting to give forward.”
Walker’s high school resume runs the gamut of distinctions, including class president, and said he plans to attend the University of Kansas as a pre-med student in hopes of becoming a pediatric oncologist.
Greg Froese, the Advanced Placement English teacher who oversees Walker’s senior project, said the yearlong assignment includes both research and personal involvement.
“I was so proud of him for going out, fundraising and creating a project with an outcome so positive, uplifting and connected with the community,” Froese said.
In a play room on the pediatric floor in Wesley Medical Center on Monday, Walker donated garbage bags filled with toys. He delivered a few toys to children in their rooms down the hall.
Walker said he donated gifts earlier in the day to patients of Rosen, the same doctor Walker saw when he had cancer. At Rosen’s office, he said, he met a teenage boy who loved hunting, and his sister coincidentally had made a camouflage blanket using some of the fundraiser money.
“We could tell that really lit up his day,” he said. “That was probably the coolest part of this whole thing.”