Cancer patient inspires woman to help kids battling cancer

Madison, Wis (WMTV) -- An Oshkosh woman is holding a book drive to help kids battling cancer.

Holden Zarda was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia and went into remission. Then in June he was diagnosed again with the blood cancer. An Oskosh woman heard about his story and pitched in to help.

“I'm getting chemo today here. Then hopefully the rest can be done so I can go home and rest," Holden said.

This is 10-year-old Holden’s reality.

“I really want to play sports, but I really can't. I can't join football or play baseball or soccer," he said.

He’s in and out of hospital beds. He takes 10 different medicines through his nasal tube leaving him with no way to just be a kid.

"They’ve been going to school. They've been in sports. They've been happy. Then all of a sudden your life comes to a screeching halt," Debra Shannon, Holden’s grandma said.

With a world turned upside down as he battles leukemia, Holden said he finds his bravery and courage through books and his favorite superhero Spiderman.

"He can fly and web sling off buildings," Holden said.

So Melissa Morris, Usborne Books Consultant, heard of Holden's story and took action. She’s holding a book drive so kids like Holden can escape into a world of imagination one page at a time.

"Everybody thinks 'oh i can't change the world' but everyone can with the little things," Morris said.

Morris didn’t meet him before she decided to do the book drive., but she said when she did, it was “incredible.”

"My heart melted to be honest. For all he's going through and the smile on his face," she said.

Every superhero needs a loyal sidekick, and the duo plans to work together for the greater good.

"He’s going to put on his Spiderman costume and be the superhero that he is and pass out books to kids in the hospital,” Morris said.

"This helps a lot because it gives him some other focus than cancer," Shannon said.

The virtual book drive is on Facebook at 8 p.m. on Thursday. The book company will match 50 percent of the books people buy. They have already reached one thousand dollars in donations.

Holden’s family is still looking for a bone marrow match. To join the registry to see if you’re a match, head over to Be The Match.