Californians Paul Burnett and Kamden Houshan have been best friends since kindergarten. The now 8-year-olds do everything together, making sure to see or talk to one another every day and getting together for family dinners once a week. Because of how much time the boys spend together, Paul is acutely familiar with some of the mobility issues Kamden, who is paraplegic and relies on a wheelchair to get around, faces on a daily basis.
“They spend a lot of time together,” Paul’s mom, Jenny Burnett, told ABC News. “He sees a lot of what Kamden goes through.”
Kamden was born with two tumors on his spine that required surgery within a week of his birth. While doctors were able to remove most of the masses from his T2 and T3 vertebras, fragments remain. The procedure left the boy permanently without use of his legs and other complications—like scoliosis and bladder problems—arose.
Set to undergo a bladder surgery in August, Kamden’s condition has taken a financial toll on his family. He is one of three boys, and his mother Yvonne, a special education teacher, has had to take large chunks of time off from work to help manage her youngest son’s care.
“Normally I would just work, but since I work in special education, if I’m gone for a few months it throws a lot of our students off,” she told ABC News. “It’s better for them if I’m not there… and that takes money away [from the family] that I usually make. That’s the tough part.”
Because of insurance, Kamden is only entitled to a new wheelchair once every five years, but the active third grader has outgrown his current chair two years ahead of schedule.
That’s where Paul comes in.
Tired of seeing his buddy fall and tip over in the wheelchair, he started researching ways to fundraise online. He ultimately settled on creating a GoFundMe page for Kamden, with the goal of raising the $3,900 needed for a new chair.
“He’s witnessed Kamden fall out of his chair—not only on play dates, but at school,” Burnett said. “It happened a lot, but we didn’t really know it.”
In one month’s time, Paul has raised nearly $6,300 for his best friend, far surpassing the amount needed to buy a new custom chair. In fact, the order has already been placed for Kamden’s new wheels, and it should arrive later this month.
The Houshan family is overwhelmed by the outpouring of support and grateful to count Paul and Burnetts as such dear friends.
“I still can’t believe it,” Houshan said. “Paul is more than just a friend to him. He’s like a brother. But it’s not just Paul. It’s Jenny and her family. They’re the biggest hearted people I’ve ever met. I’m so blessed God brought them into our lives.”
You can donate to the campaign HERE.