MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One Twin Cities boy is about to do something most kids wouldn’t dream of – he’s giving away his Christmas gifts.
Ten-year-old Cody Roemen has been raising money to bring toys and books to children in Tanzania. Instead of asking for Christmas presents, he asked his family to donate to his cause.
“I’m really happy they listened and honored my decision to give up Christmas and give donations instead,” Cody said.
His family donated $435 to his fundraiser this Christmas. The money will help him reach his dream of volunteering for the Urafiki Project, an organization that helps orphaned and less-fortunate children in Tanzania.
“We’re going to help teach, hang out with kids and bring them school supplies and toys,” Cody said.
Julie Roemen, Cody’s mom, says he’s always thinking of others first.
“He puts everyone before himself, all the time. So I wasn’t shocked, I was just proud,” Julie said.
Odd jobs and small fundraisers have fueled his donation drive over the last 10 months. But during that time, Cody faced his own challenges.
“I have cerebral palsy, so I’ve had several surgeries, too,” Cody said.
His two surgeries within the last year could have slowed him down, but Cody still found a way to raise money.
“He had surgery in August, and 10 days later he was parked in his wheelchair outside the State Fair selling water bottles for donations,” Julie said.
Even though Cody is constantly getting small donations here and there, he’s still less than half way from his goal.
“I know we’re going to make it some day and I know we’ll make a difference in those kids’ lives,” Cody said.
Passing on presents was an easy decision. Cody believes that sometimes, the best gift can’t fit under a tree.
“That’s so much more important to him, and I’m just happy he can see that far ahead and just understand the big picture rather than right now,” Julie said.
Cody learned about this charity after a friend volunteered.
Julie says Cody felt he could connect with these kids because he understands how it feels to have someone donate their time.
During Cody’s surgeries, volunteers at the hospital read to him and spent time with him.
He and his mom hope to make the trip this summer.
If you’d like to donate, click here.