Inspired by sick friend, kids rock to raise money for cancer research

The Sideshow

The Runaway Hamsters aren't exactly the Beatles. Well, not yet, anyway. But the group of 9-year-old sibling rockers clearly have their hearts in the right place.

The Boise, Idaho, foursome – 9-year-old Isabella (drums) and 8-year-old triplets Abby (keyboard), Gabby (vocals) and Riley Keen (guitar and bass) – recorded an original single titled "RunAway" to raise money to fight cancer. They were inspired by a friend who is fighting the disease.

Earlier this year, their friend Matt Dittrich was diagnosed with cancer. Gabby told KTVB that Matt has a brain tumor and lost his hair due to treatments. He has trouble walking and has to use a wheelchair.

Wanting to help their friend, the kids set out to produce their own CD with some funds fronted by their parents, according to KTVB. They've raised over $1,200 so far. The albums are available for sale on the group's Facebook page. CDs are $5, with the proceeds reportedly going toward worthy causes.

"100% of the profits will be donated," self-described "momager" Barb Keen told Yahoo News via email.  "On Tuesday of this week the kids donated $200 to their school Riverside Elementary to set up a scholarship to help other kids who may need a boost. They remaining money will go to MSTI/Childrens Hospital here in Boise to help kids who are going through cancer treatment."

Keen told Yahoo News that Matt is "doing amazing."

"He is one of the most precious souls you will ever meet," Keen said. "Motivated, unstoppable, determined, kind, grateful. He just finished his last chemo treatment a week ago."

Naturally, she's proud of her own kids and their desire to be a positive force. "I'm so proud of these kids and their compassion and commitment to making a difference in the world. They are kind, funny, talented and very normal."

But what of the band's name?  Apparently it was a collaborative process.


"We all picked the name,” said Abby. Finishing her sentence, Isabella added, “Abby picked runaway and I picked hamsters and then we put it together, Runaway Hamsters."

Follow Mike Krumboltz on Twitter at @mikekrumboltz.