VIDEO: Sawyer Rings the Bell for KIDstruction’s Lifesaving Message

By on April 2, 2018

Sawyer is an a two-and-a-half-year-old boy who loves the St. Louis Blues, hanging at his grandpa’s farm, watching “Paw Patrol” on television and cheering the St. Louis Blues. Recently that small boy helped create a joyous noise at Children’s Hospital on South Kingshighway that was heard miles away in Kirkwood.

Sawyer is this year’s patient ambassador to KIDstruction, the St. Louis Construction industry grassroots program that has raised $1,896,169 since 2011 to help fund programs at St. Louis Children’s Hospital.

Ringing a bell is ceremony that celebrates the successful completion of a child’s course of chemotherapy.  If you’ve driven along I-44 near Big Bend recently,  you’ve seen a billboard with massive three-dimensional likeness of a brass bell mounted on it.

Last Wednesday (March 28) at 11 a.m. Sawyer, assisted by Blues mascot Louie, rang a brass bell that hangs on the 9th floor of Children’s Hospital. Then he pressed an app button on an iPad that rang the bell on the I-44 billboard.

Getting Answers, and Help, for Sawyer

Imagine celebrating your child reach every milestone – crawling, walking, enjoying life as a toddler just to watch him slowly regress and be in pain with no answers as to why. This was what Jessica and Brandon went through about a year ago with Sawyer.

After seeing many doctors and specialists throughout the nation – Sawyer’s family was finally given a diagnosis at St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Sawyer has rare form of cancer called Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, in which abnormal cells invade and destroy normal organs. In his case, the cells were attacking the bones of his legs, hips as well as skull. As a result, he was unable to walk due to pain.

Upon diagnosis, he was started on a year’s worth of chemotherapy and responded well early. A sign of hope for Sawyer’s family was seeing him dance at his relatives’ wedding. And then came the bell ringing last week.

Continuing the Effort

The KIDstruction concept originated in St. Louis and has been replicated by children’s hospitals around the country. The program encourages employees of construction industry companies to donate at least $1 per hour for a week, and for their employers to match their contributions and/or fund major sponsorships.

Sawyer from Thomas Finan on Vimeo.

In a message to KIDstruction committee members this year’s chair, Brad Gross of Gross Mechanical wrote: “We have inherited something remarkable that our past leaders have set an amazing foundation for us to build from – for our industry, the St. Louis community, and the kids served by SLCH.

“I am humbled to lead this amazing group.  I am entering my third year being involved with SLCH, and also with the KIDstruction program – has been awesome to watch it bloom during that time.  My family is fortunate as we have not had to rely on the expertise that SLCH brings to our village, community, city, region.  We all recognize the need though for the hospital here, and I know that is a common thread amongst us, it is one of the many beacons we have here to be proud of.”

For more information on the KIDstruction program, click here to download this year’s brochure, or contact Kathryn Lodes, senior partnership coordinator, St. Louis Children’s Hospital, 314.288.0976 (o), (e).



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