Two East Texas 8th graders met for the first time Tuesday, after one donated a gift that could turn out to be a lifesaver for the other.
There wasn't any glitz and glamour. Just a simple handshake, but behind that handshake is a heart filled with gratitude.
"I'm just really thankful," Byron Jones said.
Byron Jones was diagnosed with leukemia in January. Since then, he's had to drop out school and go to Dallas for regular chemo treatments. Byron's classmates and teacher Paige Redmond decided to raise money to help the Jones pay for the medical costs, including hosting a silent auction.
"All I was thinking is 'what if that was my kid?' I have to do something to help them," said donation organizer and Van ISD teacher, Paige Redmond.
Dylan Sims, who didn't know Byron till today, decided to donate his signed Johnnny Manziel football to that silent auction.
Today they got to meet face-to-face at a blood drive for Byron at Van ISD.
"I mean, I liked it, because to actually meet the person that would give up a signed Johnny Manziel football. I mean that's rare," Byron said.
"It's been really fun because I got to meet Byron and come here. And I got to get out of school early," Dylan said.
"It just gave you chill bumps. It was just like a miracle. They got to see each other and get together and this is the kid that's going to help him out on a daily basis," Redmond said.
The football sold in the silent auction for $2,500. That, along with the school's fundraising efforts selling T-shirts and bracelets, enabled them to present the Jones' with a $7,000 check.
Byron also got to see his old teammates for the first time since he left school.
"The kids were so excited to see him and the teachers. They even had a prayer out here together. We're just so happy that he could come," Redmond said.
"I liked it. I mean, I'm really ready to come back to school," Byron said.
Hopefully, he will be able to soon.
"I feel good. I feel like I'm starting to get better," Byron said.
The woman who won the signed Johnny Manziel football in the silent auction is planning to use that football in another auction to help the Christian Homes and Family Services organization.
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