Second-grader does his small part for kids battling cancer

07/08/2010 12:00 AM |

Duncan Welsh, 12, (left) with his 7-year-old brother, Odin Angermaier-Brown, who collected almost 5,000 cans to raise money to help send kids with cancer to Camp Adventure on Shelter Island. The two boys attended the camp together as Duncan battled cancer, which is now in remission.

Little Odie of Wading River says there’s no question about what he wants to be when he grows up. When asked, 7-year-old Odin Angermaier-Brown answers simply: “I want to be the CEO of a philanthropist company.”

Odie, as he is known to his family, is already on his way.

In just two months, he has collected 4,631 cans and bottles — good for $231.55 in deposit refunds he plans to donate to Camp Adventure, a weeklong summer camp on Shelter Island for children with cancer and their siblings.

He chose the camp because helping childhood cancer victims is a cause close to his heart.

When Odie was 1, his older brother Duncan, then 6, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a cancer that affects the lymph nodes. The older boy is now in remission.

“He’s a miracle child,” the boys’ grandmother Peggy Angermaier said of Duncan. Odie lives with his grandparents in Wading River. Duncan, his half-brother, usually lives with his father in Pennsylvania, but is visiting for the summer.

Duncan was well enough to attend Camp Adventure in 2007 after years of radiation and chemotherapy. Odie joined him the following year. That summer and the next, in 2009, it was a welcome weeklong respite for the boys to have fun and be kids, all while bonding with other cancer survivors. Duncan will not be attending this year, as he chose to focus on football, but the camp has invited Odie back as a way of thanking him for his efforts. Odie said he’s looking forward to, once again, showing off his break-dancing skills in the annual talent show.

The fun they had together there “makes me think of my brother being in remission and that’s something I like to think about,” Odie said of the camp.

Odie said he chose collecting cans and bottles because, for a child, it’s the easiest way to raise money.

About two months ago, he began leaving large plastic bags on his neighbors’ doorsteps with a note asking them to fill the sacks with bottles and cans that he would collect on Sundays. Even his friends and teachers at Riley Avenue Elementary pitched in; his grandmother said he would come home from school nearly every day with a backpack full of empty water bottles.

Every nickel he got back went to Camp Adventure.

Tuition at Camp Adventure is free for all campers, though the camp costs about $1,200 per child to run. It is sponsored by the American Cancer Society and is funded through donations.

Odie’s family members say they couldn’t be prouder of his efforts. “I’m happy that he is helping other kids,” Duncan said.

The boy’s friends and neighbors are also proud of his efforts.

Odie said one neighbor would every week enclose an encouraging note, along with a treat — including a Dave and Buster’s gift card — among her recyclables. She also gave him money for ice cream, which he decided to donate to the camp.

Odie said he wasn’t out for rewards. “The note is just enough,” he said

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