By Ukee Washington
HAVERTOWN, Pa. (CBS) — When two boys met last year, no one could have predicted how their friendship would blossom. Now, they’re bonding over a sport and a cause.
Twelve-year-old Michael Dell and 9-year-old Brendan Dixon are enjoying an afternoon at a skating rink. They look like ordinary healthy kids, but Brendan has a serious medical condition.
“Food attacks his esophagus,” explained Brendan’s mother, Jennifer Dixon. “It causes chest pain, it causes throat pain, it causes vomiting.”
The disease is called eosinophilic esophagitis, a dangerous allergic inflammation of the esophagus.
“Well, I don’t get to eat as much of foods as other kids,” said Brendan. The only food that won’t give him a reaction is potatoes. Now, he has a feeding tube he showed us on his stomach: “We open this, and there’s like a little thing that we open here, and it goes through the tube and into my body.”
When Michael met Brendan and found out about his disease, Michael decided to use his Bar Mitzvah service project to raise research money.
“I’m hoping that we can raise enough money to be able to find a cure,” Michael said.
On Friday, March 23rd, Michael will host a party and raffle at the Skatium in Havertown, where he’ll be selling signed jerseys, Letterman tickets, and even autographs from Flyer Ian Laperriere. All proceeds go to CHOP’s research center for eosinophilic diseases.
“Of course it made me cry, yes! Probably still!” Jennifer Dixon said as she teared up. “But yes, very sweet.”
The two boys bond over hockey and Brendan’s mom’s dream:
“I’d love for him to have a piece of birthday cake,” Brendan’s mother said. “He’d love to have a pizza.”
The Skate for Brendan is Friday, March 23rd from 7:00 p.m. until 8:30 p.m. at The Skatium, 1002 Darby Road (at the corner of Darby and Manoa Roads), Havertown, PA. Tickets are $10 per person and include skate rental.
For more on Brendan’s fundraiser for CHOP, click here.