“Anybody can make a difference. You can be more than what you are right now. You can do more than what you’ve already done.” – Katelyn Indelicato, age 8.
It’s easy to help your best friend. It takes something more to help an acquaintance. And it takes something truly special to help someone you’ve never ever met. Yet, eight-year-old Katelyn Indelicato is doing just that and setting an example that most full-grown adults can only hope to aspire toward.
Lukas Da Cruz’s life permanently changed course when he was caught in a drive-by shooting outside of a Dallas restaurant in August. The shooting paralyzed Lukas from the waist down and put him in need of physical therapy and rehab (Dallas Morning News). Each PT session costs $200, something that Lukas’ family couldn’t afford long-term. There were even talks about taking a break for a month or two so the family could scrape together enough money to get him back at some point. Then an eight-year-old guardian angel appeared in the picture.
Katelyn heard about Lukas’ injury from her third-grade teacher. She immediately went home and emptied her piggy bank of its contents. The $40 she’d been collecting for years was better suited for Lukas’ physical therapy than the American Girl doll she had eyed. Knowing that $40 wasn’t enough to put a dent in Lukas’ ongoing medical costs, Katelyn took it upon herself to start fundraising. She started asking classmates for loose change, started a lemonade stand, and even went door-to-door around her neighborhood with flyers and a change jar.
She’s still never met Lukas, but her actions are positively impacting the young man. She prays nightly that he will one day get better so he can help others too. Powerful words for someone so young. Strangers learning of Katelyn’s fundraising have started pitching in as well, helping financially where they could. Lukas’ outlook on life started improving and the negative approach to rehab has slowly been replaced by a positive one. He’s found the will to fight again – all thanks to an eight-year-old stranger’s willingness to help. Sometimes it takes someone else believing in you to make you realize it yourself.