Brasen VonMoose-Lemin loves Legos. The 7-year-old loves to build things and has been known to spend hours putting together elaborate 1,000-plus piece Lego sets as soon as he gets them.
He would like to be an architect when he grows up. His favorite subject at school is science. He loves sports, especially baseball and football—the Ravens, of course.
And in 2008 he was diagnosed with leukemia.
Brasen now is in remission and recently set out to do something to help others.
“I want to help find a cure for cancer,” he said Monday after receiving a special citation from Sen. Ed DeGrange (D-Glen Burnie) in front of his first-grade class.
The student raised more than $1,800 April 30, which he donated to University of Maryland Children’s Hospital (UMCH), the hospital that's treated him—“his” hospital.
“It took you to get this organized and get this going and we’re really proud of you,” DeGrange said.
Brasen approached his parents about selling lemonade at their home to raise money for UMCH. And brownies. And having a yard sale.
“I said, ‘This is too much for our yard,’” said Brasen’s mother Cherie VonMoose-Lemin.
The family coordinated with George Cromwell principal Mary Beth Gormley and decided to hold the event on school grounds.
“A friend volunteered to do face painting and balloon characters. We had glitter tattoos and a stilt walker,” Cherie VonMoose-Lemin said.
In the weeks leading up to the event, the family lobbied local businesses, passed out flyers and tried to raise awareness about the fundraiser. Brasen’s older brother Kaleb even approached store managers about helping out.
The family received donations from local grocery stores including , Giant and Safeway as well as other businesses in Glen Burnie such as Walmart and Chick-fil-A.
And even with the school participating in a event at the Centre at Glen Burnie that same day, people came out in droves to support Brasen, Cherie VonMoose-Lemin said.
“I was concerned because there were so many things going on that weekend,” Gormley said. “We decided that they set up in the grassy area out front so people could see them from the road…It was great that it was a beautiful day.”
Cherie VonMoose-Lemin said people would pull up in their cars and on their motorcycles just to donate.
“They would hand the money off and leave,” she said.
Brasen’s father Donald Lemin said the family was shocked at how much money the event raised—and all of it in small amounts with two $50 bills being the largest donation.
“That’s the most money I’ve ever seen,” Brasen said.
Brasen was diagnosed in September 2008 after his parents discovered some mysterious bruising from his underwear around his waist. He’s been on the maintenance phase of treatment since March 2009, Lemin said.
Now Brasen is taking chemotherapy orally daily, at the hospital monthly and in his spine every three months, Cherie VonMoose-Lemin said.
“Hopefully at the end of this year he’ll be done,” she said.
Even so, Brasen said he plans to continue to work to raise money for UMCH and cancer “until they find a cure.”