In 2012, Brodie Yeager and Drew Palmer met in kindergarten at Harrison East Elementary School in Hopedale, Ohio. They sat together at lunch. They played football at recess. But they were not close friends, which makes this story even more remarkable.
Before entering third grade, Drew was diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a type of bone cancer, in his spine.
“He was a very outgoing, goofy boy. He loved his dirt bike. He loved to climb trees. He always had a sense of humor,” said Drew’s mom, Elisha Palmer.
After surgery, 13 rounds of chemotherapy, and 30 radiation treatments, along with time spent at UPMC (University of Pittsburgh Medical Center) Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, the Cleveland Clinic, and Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, Drew passed away Aug. 29, 2016, a month shy of his ninth birthday.
“His family was down, and I wanted to bring them back up,” said Brodie, who is now 12 and a member of the Cadiz Ranchers 4-H Club in Harrison County. “I wanted to make them feel that their son was not forgotten.”
Brodie surprised buyers at the 2017 Harrison County Junior Fair when he announced that all proceeds from the sale of his market rabbits would go to cancer research in Drew’s name. The rabbits were bought by D&J Sales and Service, and Border Patrol Construction—Brodie’s dad’s company—for $3,400.
In 2018, Brodie donated his rabbit proceeds to the Make-A-Wish Foundation. His rabbits sold to Randall L. Gallagher Memorials for $2,000. D&J Sales and Service, and Border Patrol Construction each matched the purchase, bringing the total donation to $6,000.
“Brodie has been amazing. It blows my mind that someone his age would be willing to give up that much money,” Elisha Palmer said.
Brodie does not like the attention that has come with his donations, his mom said. “We just explained to him that people need to hear good news today,” said Nicole Yeager.
Elisha Palmer believes Brodie and Drew would be close today. “Drew always knew somebody in the hospital worse off than him. He always looked out for those kids. It reminds me of Brodie’s generosity. He and Drew would have grown to be close friends.”