Is this book about to make me cry? I don’t really remember it, but there’s a sick-looking child on the cover… damnit.
Turns out Becca Ramsey is a total do-gooder and part of Stoneybrook Elementary School’s Kids-Can-Do-Anything Club; the Kids Club does volunteer and charity work around Stoneybrook. Becca is upset because one of the teacher-advisors is going on sabbatical, so the club might have to shut down. She’s also upset because a former club member, Danielle Roberts, is one of the kids with leukemia in the hospital to which the kids just brought toys. At the next BSC meeting, Jessi suggests that the baby-sitters all spend the next month volunteering. Everyone loves the idea, other than having to figure out how to run the club and volunteer at the same time.
Jessi is going to help Mr. Katz run the Kids Club while Ms. Simon is gone; Kristy is going to volunteer at the day care center where David Michael used to go; Dawn is going to help at the Baker Institute, a program for kids with physical disabilities; Stacey is going to be talking to newly diagnosed diabetic kids at a new diabetes clinic; Claudia is going to teach an art class at the community center; Mary Anne is going to work with a brain damaged boy named Frankie; Mallory is going to help counselors at an after-school kids’ program in the park. To make the club work, members are only required to attend meetings that don’t conflict with their new schedules, and Shannon and Logan will be getting way more jobs than usual.
At Jessi’s first meeting of the Kids Club, Mr. Katz reads letters the kids have received from people they’ve helped. One is from Danielle, the girl with leukemia, who says she’s going to be leaving the hospital soon and coming back to school; her hair has all fallen out from the chemo, but she promises she’ll wear a wig or a scarf. It bums everyone the hell out. Becca has an idea to become pen pals with the kids in the hospital so they have letters and pictures to look forward to. At the third Kids Club meeting Jessi attends, Danielle is back. She’s in good spirits and has a kickass attitude about her leukemia, but the other kids are all very worried for her (she’s so thin – and bald). Danielle has two wishes: go to Disney World… and graduate fifth grade. Depressing, right?
Jessi contacts a Stanford organization called Your Wish Is My Command (hmm… wonder who they’re modeled after?) and asks about Danielle’s wish; the person she speaks with answers some questions and tells her to have one of Danielle’s parents call. Danielle gets placed on the “wish list.” Meanwhile, Becca and Charlotte have become friends with Danielle (most of the other kids think Danielle is weird and talk behind her back). The three of them have fun but sometimes Danielle gets overtired and has to lay down and it kind of scares them. Still, people are starting to warm up to Danielle – especially when her Disney World wish is granted and her hair starts to grow back. Kids, you know?
Danielle has an amazing time at Disney World and gives Jessi a wishing star necklace as a thank you for helping make it happen. She also brings back little presents for the members of the Kids Club. She said the trip “made her life.” Unfortunately, Danielle ends up back in the hospital a little while later. She still has a kick-ass attitude, though:
Not to get too schmaltzy, but a musician that I love dearly is a leukemia survivor and has a foundation that helps young people who have blood cancers. His name is Andrew McMahon and his foundation is the Dear Jack Foundation. Check it out! ❤