MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Graham Fowler, of Fridley, Minn., is a 10-year-old with an extremely disease called Spitzoid Melanoma. He’s being treated at the Mayo Clinic and has had eight surgeries.
Yet, he’s found a colorful way to help other people heal in the midst of his own sickness.
“He was a healthy little boy, and he had a mole on his arm. Now he’s had eight major surgeries and his life’s completely changed,” said Brittany Fowler, his sister.
It all started with what Graham thought was a blood blister. But it wasn’t a blister, it was melanoma.
Graham is now one of six kids in the United States with that diagnosis. Trips to the Mayo Clinic started right away, as did a new habit: making rubber bracelets by hand.
“They did it so he would kinda be distracted…because he couldn’t go to school because of all his surgeries,” his sister said.
But Graham had a knack for it.
“The starburst was the first cool one I made,” he said, “and nobody can make that one, they said it was too hard.”
His friends at school started buying the bracelets, and then he started taking orders via Facebook, for $1 each.
“So all the sudden, he had all this money and decided to donate it to childhood cancer research,” Brittany said.
Graham says he’s raised somewhere around $8,000 so far.
His sister says she’s proud of him.
“He never complains,” she said. “If I was in that situation, I couldn’t say that I would. I’d be a hot mess. He’s a tough boy.”
Now, Graham has several thousand more bracelet orders to fill.
His family says his form of cancer does not have a cure, so he will have to be monitored closely for the rest of his life and spend very little time in the sun.