LYNNWOOD, Wash. — Doctors gave 11-year-old Brenden Foster two weeks to live.
Those two weeks were up on Wednesday. On Friday, he shared his last wish.
Not yet a teenager, Brenden’s time to die has come.
“I should be gone in a week or so,” he said.
Brenden was the kid who ran the fastest, climbed the highest and dreamed of becoming a marine photographer. Leukemia took away all those things, but not his dying wish to help others.
“He’s always thought about others. Never complained about having to go through this, ever,” said his mother, Wendy Foster.
When Brenden was first diagnosed with leukemia, he and his mom began a new tradition. Every night they list three positive things that happened during the day, and they have to share a laugh. A chuckle will do, Brenden said, but a fake laugh will never do.
In the last days of his life, it was a homeless camp, namely Nickelsville, that captured the boy’s heart.
“I was coming back from one of my clinic appoints and I saw this big thing of homeless people, and then I thought I should just get them something,” he said.
Brenden is too ill to leave his bed and feed the homeless. He walked into an emergency room last December and hasn’t walked since.
But Brenden’s wish will not go unfulfilled. A group planned to gather in his honor on Friday night to make sandwiches and deliver them to the homeless.
“We’re making 200 sandwiches — half ham and cheese, and half peanut butter and jelly. He didn’t want them all to be peanut butter and jelly in case somebody was allergic to peanut butter,” said Jennifer Morrison, one of the participants.
“They’re probably starving, so give them a chance,” said Brenden.
Brenden, surrounded by love and wise beyond his years, urges others to follow their dreams.
“Mine already came true,” he said.
Brenden has relapsed for the last time. There is no chemo, no more transfusions; just comfort medications.
“It’s devastating, but I find great peace in knowing we’ve had our time together and that we will see each other again,” said Wendy.
Brenden has one more wish for the afterlife: become an angel who accomplishes even more in heaven than he did on Earth.
“I had a great time and until my time has come, I’m gonna keep having a good time,” he said.
Don’t cry for Brenden. He doesn’t want leukemia to claim any more tears
The local boy whose dying wish to feed the homeless inspired thousands across the world has taken a turn for the worse.
Brenden Foster is growing weaker, but his message is growing stronger.
His body is failing, his skin yellowing. His mother is trying to decide on the wording for his grave marker.
“B-Man is his nickname, or Mr. B. But most people call him B-Man,” said Wendy Foster.
The end is near, and Brenden has one question for God.
“Why at so young an age? I could have done more. But if it has to be now, it has to be now,” he said.
It’s easy to imagine all he could have accomplished after seeing what the 11 year old has achieved in his final days. Brenden’s dying wish to help the homeless has touched hearts from Saudi Arabia to South Carolina. Many of them left voice messages for their new hero.
“We saw you on television and love you with all of our hearts and we’re praying for you,” said Gayle Cleveland.
“(I’m) 59 years old and it brings tears to my eyes every time I see him — someone with that initiative that wants to help the homeless,” said Danny Billingsly.
“We collected over 20,000 cans of food and donated it to a local food bank in your honor,” said a woman named Nina.
A Vietnam vet from Kentucky who lost his leg in the war wants me to give Brenden his Purple Heart for bravery.
“This is for you, little angel,” said Jim Jones. “A bunch of guardian angels here and a bunch of guardian angels are waiting for you in heaven.”
Brenden’s message inspired Daniel Chairez, a 12-year-old boy in California who is also battling leukemia.
“He really inspired me because he’s not afraid. And he wants to help people and he’s not selfish,” he said.
Daniel says he wants to pick up where Brenden leaves off and help the homeless.
“I think that’s very great,” Brenden said.
Achieving Brenden’s wish makes his mom proud. But the thought of losing him has been devastating her and the expected costs of his funeral frightening her.
“We don’t know how we’re going to pay for it,” said Wendy.
How to help
Go to the Problem Solvers donation page and select “Brenden Foster Food Drive” from the donation options list.