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Cody Clark: there's some of Goofus and Gallant in us all. When the Gallant shines through, we show our best self.

"I have no idea when I started wanting to help people," says Cody Clark of Ontario, Canada. "It's always been inside me. If I see someone struggling, I either want to help them or make them feel better."

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Cody, now 13, first began helping people when he was 7. "My friend Brenna was born with a hole in her heart, and I wanted to buy her a new heart," says Cody. "I set up a table in grocery stores with a big jar and told people why I was collecting money. I also did chores around the house and used my own allowance." Cody raised $2,500, which he donated to the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada.

Cody's next goal was to keep the cardiac unit of the Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario, in Ottawa, from moving more than 200 miles away to the city of Toronto. "This is where my friend Brenna was going for her treatment, and I thought that if she had to travel to Toronto for her treatment, she might die," explains Cody. "I went to 13 schools and gave a speech to get a petition started." Cody was able to collect 2,500 signatures, many from kids. His petition played an important role in keeping the cardiac unit nearby.

Cody turned great hardship into more opportunities to help others after both of his parents were diagnosed with cancer. Sadly, Cody's father did not survive his fight against the disease. After watching his parents' treatments and being hospitalized himself for a serious ear infection and a broken arm, Cody created Cody's Individual Comfort Kits.

Cody says he was "really bored, sad, and scared" in the hospital. "I decided to give something to kids who were in the same position as me," he says. The comfort kits are cardboard boxes filled with toys, crayons, rattles, books, puzzles, games, and a "get well soon" note from Cody. He also developed kits for adults in local hospitals and distributes small bears called Cody Cuddlers.

"If you have a dream or really want to do something for someone," says Cody, "you should always try to fulfill that dream. Don't ever give up, and don't ever let anyone tell you that you're too young and just a kid."

Highlights is proud to know this Gallant Kid.

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Title Annotation:Gallant Kids
Author:Renaud, Anne
Publication:Highlights for Children
Geographic Code:1CANA
Date:Nov 1, 2009
Words:388
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