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12-year-old raises money for local cancer patients

MORRIS – Twelve-year-old Eli Davy of Morris wanted a new set of golf clubs this summer, so he set out devising a plan to raise the money to buy them.

That’s when a new idea came to light.

“First I thought, ‘I want to get some new golf clubs,’ ” Davy said. “I got the idea that I could sell lemonade to football players after practice.”

As he worked on his plan, he decided to change his strategy to Gatorade and water, and he started devising a plan.

But after a little more thought, he decided he didn’t need a new set of golf clubs. There were other people who could use the money more than he could.

“I don’t need new golf clubs, I have some, and they are just fine,” he said. “I decided I should raise money for people who need it.”

Davy decided to raise money instead for two Morris residents, Tricia “Tee Tee” Shannon and Ryan Bernickus. Both are battling cancer. 

In three days, he raised $520, which he will split between the two residents.

“I thought it was great,” his mother Sara Davy said. “We’d been praying for Tricia, so he knew about her.”

Davy said his sister, Monica, is friends with Shannon’s daughter Peighton, and Shannon was on the same Morris Redskins softball team as his mom. He heard she was diagnosed with breast cancer, so he wanted to do something for her.

“I was completely overwhelmed that a 12-year-old, little boy could think about me and Ryan over his own wants,” Shannon said. “He’s got it figured out more at 12 years old than most adults do.”

When Davy told her he was raising money for her, she said it was the first time she had shed a tear since learning of her diagnosis. Not because of what she is going through, but because Davy was performing such a selfless act.

Davy had never met the other benefactor. He just knew Ryan Bernickus’ brother, Matt, and had heard he had cancer. Ryan also was close friends with Davy’s cousin, Trevor Lines. 

It didn’t matter that he didn’t know these people well. He just knew they needed the money more than he needed golf clubs.

“Anyone would be proud of their son for doing this,” his father Eric Davy said. “But I’m not surprised; he has a kind heart.”

Davy’s parents offered to help him prepare, but Davy decided he needed to do that himself. 

He made signs saying “Redskin Strong,” and he set out his display at the exit to the Morris Community High School student parking lot, which every football player who left practice by car had to pass to get home. 

While he worked his stand, Sara Davy said she would look down toward him from time to time from the tennis courts where she was teaching tennis. She could see him waving his arms and calling for people to buy refreshments. 

Davy said he’d do it all again. It made him feel thoughtful and proud of himself. 

“They are having lifetime situations,” he said. “Not temporary, like me wanting the clubs.”

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