LECK KILL — Drew Hanlon wanted to come up with a way to celebrate the 100th day of school last Thursday.
He immediately thought of helping others.
To do that, the homeschooled 10-year-old from Leck Kill in Upper Mahanoy Township is literally drawing upon his own talent to raise money to fight childhood cancer.
Drew, the oldest of Frank and Heather Hanlon’s four children, is creating comic strips in exchange for a $10 donation apiece after soliciting the donations on a crowdfunding website. With help from his mom, he set up the website by going to www.gofundme.com. His website, Comics to Fight Cancer, can be found at www.gofundme.com/kxowek.
With it, he raised $620 in three days for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis.
“He loves to read Calvin and Hobbs,” mom Heather Hanlon said. “He started his own series called Edwin.”
She said her son originally wanted to raise $100 to celebrate the 100th day of school. She suggests activities for the 100th day as a fun thing to do with the children. When she asked him what he wanted to do with the money, he told her he wanted to help children with cancer.
“My great-grandfather had cancer and I thought of that right before the 100th day of school,” Drew said.
He knows chemotherapy makes patients ill, so he figured the money could go toward finding another treatment.
“We looked up St. Jude’s,” his mom said. “I asked how are you going to raise the money. He said he’d make a comic for them.”
It took just an hour to raise $100, so he just kept raising more, with about 20 percent of the donors giving more than $10. Someone donated $100, while others gave various amounts, Heather said.
The tax-deductible donations made to the website automatically go to the hospital, so the Hanlons don’t have to handle the money. Heather said 31 people donated and requested comics, after which she temporarily closed the site. After about 7 hours of work, he has 17 finished with 14 to go, she said.
“It takes him about 20 minutes to a half hour to make one comic,” she said. “He’s been trying get done two a day.”
But with his school work and wrestling, he has to fit in his drawing during free time, sometimes on weekends.
Drew, who has three siblings, Noah, 7, Lily, 5, and Grace, 3, draws his comic strips in pencil, with many based on his family. He did some of his drawings for his grandparents.
“They said that they really liked it,” Drew said. “We actually went to a wrestling tournament and I gave them to them there.”
His mother said when he catches up with his comics, they may reopen the site so more could request comics.
“He’s got a good heart,” she said. “When he was 4 or 5, he had rock collection. One Thanksgiving, he sold each of his rocks to family members and told them a story to go with it.”
Heather said Drew still surprises her with his willingness to help others.
When he saw a homeless man, he made his parents put together “blessings bags” containing toiletries, such as toothbrushes, toothpaste washcloths, and a couple of dollars in quarters to give to homeless people.
He emptied out his piggy bank to contribute quarters, his mom said.
So is Drew thinking of some new projects to raise money, in addition to his comic strips?
“I think I’ll just stick with that for now,” he said.