MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A Twin Cities fifth-grader caught the attention of the White House by raising money for childhood cancer.
Graham Trocke-Fowler started making bracelets to sell during his own treatment for an extremely rare form of melanoma. Now he’s been invited to meet the president.
When you get a letter from the White House, it’s hard to keep your cool.
“I almost cried, it was just so exciting,” Trocke-Fowler said.
Trocke-Fowler spends lots of his time making these bracelets he calls “Grahamlets.”
“When I have nothing-to-do time, I probably make like 100 a day,” he said.
The 11-year-old started making them as a way to pass time during treatment for melanoma.
But then, the Grahamlets caught traction.
“They were going all over the school, and I decided to sell them for $1,” Trocke-Fowler said.
The money raised goes to childhood cancer research.
His older brother RJ watched him go through 14 surgeries since his diagnosis in 2012. As a class assignment, he had to write about a hero, and he chose Graham. RJ sent that letter, along with a few Grahamlets, to the president, and it resulted in a letter from Barack Obama.
“I want you to know I admire you [for] looking beyond your own challenges and working to support others fighting cancer,” Trocke-Fowler reads from the letter.
“It’s been a battle,” grandfather Rod Trocke said.
He takes Trocke-Fowler to most of his treatments at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. He gets choked up thinking about him spending time at the White House Easter Egg Roll.
“For all this to go all the way to the top, it’s something to be proud of for him,” Trocke said.
As for Trocke-Fowler, he’s already planning the Grahamlet he’ll make for the president: “Red, white and blue, nice and cool.”
Trocke-Fowler has been in remission for about a year. He, his mom and three siblings will head to the White House for the Easter Egg Roll on April 6.
He has made about 34,000 Grahamlets so far, raising roughly $50,000 in three years.