By Natasha Brown


PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A fifth-grader is getting a big boost in his cancer fight. A Philadelphia store is helping Patrick Vanderslice cross the finish line with a fun shopping spree.

The look of surprise was priceless as Patrick was in complete shock at the Burlington store in Center City.

Burlington teamed up with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society to treat cancer survivors like Patrick to events like this. Patrick was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2017. He’s been battling the disease and enduring years of treatment.

But today his thoughts are on all the toys, clothes and shoes he can get.

“I thought we were doing normal shopping downtown,” Patrick said. “It turned out to be this gigantic surprise.”

“The mission of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society is to find a cure for leukemia, lymphoma, Hodgkin’s disease, and myeloma, and improve the quality of life for patients and their families,” Light the Night campaign manager Monique Riotto said.

The starry-eyed fifth-grader with the infectious smile has become an inspiration for other children with cancer. Even at his young age he believes he has a higher purpose.

“Sometimes it might be my some sort of calling to know that I’m special and that no one fights cancer alone,” Patrick said.

Patrick found a basketful of clothes, toys and shoes on his shopping spree. It’s a welcome reprieve from cancer treatments for a little boy in the fight of his life.

“He’s doing phenomenal,” Bethann Vanderslice, Patrick’s mother, said. “He’s in remission and so far, so good, no evidence of disease.”

Vanderslice says if all goes well, Patrick should be completely done with his treatments by October 2020.

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