Jesse Kaufman and Jasmine Boden. Photo courtesy Liana Kaufman.
Since Yahoo Parenting launched on Oct. 23, the editors and writers have posted nearly 600 stories on the site. They chose this article – originally published on Dec. 5, which helped raise more than $5,000 for Jasmine Boden’s medical care in the first 24 hours – as a highlight of the pieces that offer trusted advice, inspire provocative conversations, and hopefully add a little fun to your life, every day.
Give a teenager $5,000 and he’ll likely blow it on a new video game or laptop. However, one 13-year-old boy in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, decided to donate the $5,000 he received for his Bar Mitzvah to a much better cause: to help with the medical expenses of a classmate with brain cancer.
Seventh grader Jesse Kaufman first learned of Jasmine Boden’s illness from an article in the local paper. It told the story of how Jasmine was diagnosed with Chordoma, a rare form of brain cancer, when she was only nine. "He thought she was so brave," Jesse’s mother, Liana Kaufman, tells Yahoo Parenting. "At the time he gave me all the money he had —$20 — to send to her, and he wrote her a letter, too."
A year later, in fifth grade, Jesse and Jasmine both ended up in the same same class at Gateway Middle School. “Jasmine had never responded to Jesse’s letter, but he walked right up to her and said, ‘You’re Jasmine! I think you’re a hero,’” Kaufman says. “They became fast friends after that.”
In August, Jesse celebrated his Bar Mitzvah, and he knew he would be receiving some money. His parents had told him he could use a portion of the money on anything he wanted and the rest would go to help pay for college. “But one day he said to me, ‘I want to do a Bar Mitzvah mitzvah,’” Kaufman says, referring to the idea that, in Judaism, a “mitzvah” is a good deed. “He said, ‘I want to take every penny I get and put it towards Jasmine’s medical expenses. It’s the least I can do for them.’”
Jesse received a little more than $4,800 for his Bar Mitzvah, and his parents pitched in to make the donation an even $5,000. “To me it feels more good giving someone something instead of receiving something,” Jesse told local news station KDKA. “So I decided to give her the money.”
The donation will go toward a number of expenses, including to help pay for travel to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, where Jasmine is treated.
Jasmine told KDKA that she is grateful for the support of Jesse and her entire community. “I want to thank everyone for helping me, praying for me, [and being] there for me since I was 9 in that hospital,” she said.
Jesse is continuing to raise money for Jasmine’s care, and hopes that he can contribute another $5,000 through fundraising. To donate, visit Jesse’s GoFundMe account.
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