PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Isaiah Huff is changing the game by giving.
“I like to help people,” says the second grader.
Isaiah was diagnosed with sickle cell anemia as a baby and over the past seven years, he’s been in and out of the hospital more than four dozen times.
“I kept getting shots and it hurts,” he says, “I didn’t like it, but I got used it.”
The Odd Squad fan understands the pain he feels sometimes. It’s his “sickle” or crescent-shaped blood cells that can cause pain and fevers leading to hospital visits. But Isaiah, thanks to his mother, Shanna Huff, learned early on that giving made him feel better.
“It makes me happy,” he says.
Isaiah and his mom started an initiative they call, “Isaiah Inspires.” It’s not a non-profit, just two people who care. They collect toys and books from donors at their church and in their neighborhood. The duo uses the items to make “gift bags” and give them to kids hospitalized at St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children or at Abington Hospital.
“To make people feel better,” says Isaiah.
Also, with his Shanna’s help, Isaiah hosts Red Cross Blood Drives and participates in walks for sickle cell, using his cute charm to draw donations for his disease. His work has resulted in awards, including being named “Sickle Cell Poster Child,” by the Sickle Cell Association of Delaware Valley.
“Everybody that he comes in contact with just loves him,” says Shanna, “I know he is going to be something.”
Isaiah wants to be an actor and Shanna is his biggest fan. She pushes him to do the things he loves; part of that is helping others. So Shanna helps Isaiah give as much as he can to the children he says are a part of his “club.”
“If he tells me he wants something,” she says of her youngest child, “I am going to make it happen for him.”
Isaiah says he won’t stop giving any time soon.
“When I get grow up I know there will be more people who have sickle cell,” he says, “plus it’s fun.”
To donate toys or books to Isaiah Inspires, go to https://www.facebook.com/IsaiahInspires.