Dying Boy Makes Final Wish to Feed Homeless

Imagine what you might do if a doctor said you had only two weeks left.

Nov. 24, 2008— -- Just imagine what you might do if a doctor said you have only two weeks left to live.

For 11-year-old Brenden Foster of Bothell, Wash., who was given that prognosis earlier this year after learning he was suffering from leukemia last December, the answer was probably not what you'd expect.

"I was coming back from one of my clinic appointments and I saw this big thing of homeless people and then I thought I should just get them something," Foster said.

Instead of asking for an expensive toy or a fancy vacation, he decided to focus all his remaining energy on feeding the homeless.

"They're probably starving, so give them a chance," he said.

He was too weak to do it himself, but his determination caught on near his home in Seattle, where neighbors and residents launched a food drive.

"We're going to get together tonight with about 15 people and make 200 sandwiches and then bring them downtown tomorrow," said Jennifer Morrison, one of the volunteers.

It was just the beginning. His story touched people so deeply that it spread, inspiring food drives from Los Angeles to Pensacola, Fla., to a school in Ohio -- all in this past week alone.

"I've never seen the courage that this little boy just displayed," one homeless man said as he waited for a meal at the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles. "I've never seen anything like it in my life. It left me speechless."

"As soon as I saw it, I'm a crybaby and I just got tears in my eyes," one woman said. "I'm trying to get my life straight and everything and that's something that's going to let me look at the better in life."

Help Grant Brenden's Last Wish: Learn more about how to help the homeless in Brenden's honor through Food Lifeline.

Donate Online: Select "Brenden Foster Food Drive" from the list of charitable donations.

Foster, who devoted his final days to lifting others up, became bedridden; the kid who could once outrun any of his friends could no longer walk. Last week, Foster could hardly keep his eyes open, but he didn't waiver from his wish.

"'Tis the season to give," he said.

Foster Sees Charitable Wish Fulfilled

"He's always thought about the better of others, wanting to help others," said his mother, Wendy Foster. "He's never complained about having to go through this, ever."

In just two weeks, an 11-year-old boy, too sick to even work a paper route, has raised tens of thousands of dollars and brought in truckloads of donations to local food pantries.

"He's left a legacy and he's 11," his mother said. "He's done more than most people ever dream of doing just by making a wish and speaking his mind."

Foster lived long enough to see his dream come alive, before dying in his mother's arms Friday morning.

"Follow your dreams, don't let anything stop you," Foster said.

At the Union Rescue Mission, 2,500 meals have been served in Foster's honor. On the paper bags, volunteers write, "Love, Brenden" in marker to keep his legacy alive.

"When I told him he was dying, he cried," his mother recalled. "And he said, 'When I get to heaven I'm going to ask God why it had to be so soon because I had so much more I wanted to do.' Everything that he wanted to do was to help others and to benefit others."