By: Jen Russon
Two best friends living in the Watercrest and Parkland Reserve communities showed heart and innovation when they decided to raise money for cardiac patients at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital.
Banding together with their siblings, Bryce Hantman, Max Troy, along with Max Dalva, whom they’ve known since preschool, raised several hundred dollars washing cars one Saturday afternoon with matching donations from their parents.
Both sixth-graders at Westglades Middle School, Hantman and Troy came up with the car wash idea after knocking on doors didn’t drum up any donations.
“Most people either weren’t home or didn’t answer the door,” said Hantman, “so Max and I decided to wash cars instead. We did 12 of them in about four hours. At first, we charged $15 but eventually went up to $20. It was fun.”
Bryce was born with a heart defect, repaired by open heart surgery at eight weeks old. He said he and Max empathize with children facing a serious health issue because Max’s little sister, Maya, has undergone the same procedure.
“I was born with tetralogy of Fallot and needed open-heart surgery to repair it. Max’s sister needed a similar operation. All our parents, my friends, and I — we are still so grateful to the doctor who saved us,” said Bryce.
After that, he deferred to Max, who said his three-year-old sister was also treated by Dr. Redmond Burke at Nicklaus a year ago this fall.
The boys’ parents confirmed Bryce and Maya marked their heart anniversaries, or their respective open-heart surgeries dates, in October and early November. Adding the car wash was their special way of commemorating that date by paying it forward.
Sam Troy, Max’s dad, said the boys plan to do a major fundraiser every Halloween to celebrate the two ‘heart days’, hoping to engage more people in their community when next years’ anniversaries roll around.
“While at the hospital, Bryce and Maya got toys before and after surgery. Some patients even live there for years at a time. With the money from the car wash, they will purchase toys for the children before and after surgery,” said Sam.
The close-knit families share the hope their children will be able to hand-deliver the toys to the kids and personally greet the doctor they shared at the Miami hospital.
Bryce and Max, ages 11 and 12, said they haven’t done the shopping yet, but it shouldn’t be too hard because they have detailed patient wishlists to work with.
“We’re going to shop for everything on Amazon,” said Bryce. “It’s really exciting.”
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- Jen Russon is a freelance writer and English Language Arts teacher. She has published two novels to Amazon Kindle and lives in Coral Springs with her family.
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