Something good happens when you tap into a kid's creativity.
You get a T-shirt with cute pictures of food and lots of smiles; a T-shirt designed by Liam Durate as he spent day after day at Children's Health in Dallas fighting cancer.
"Our son, Liam, was diagnosed with leukemia, acute myloid leukemia, on June 17," said Liam's mom, Lisette Durate. "So, we've been here for treatments. We were admitted that same day and he started his first chemo."
Durate, 8, had several chemotherapy treatments and then a bone marrow transplant to get rid of the cancer. There were days he could not eat, but in all his favorite foods were right there in the drawings — ice cream, spaghetti, pizza — and all were smiling back at him.
"He drew the artwork with smiles and he said it was because they were not being eaten, that's why they're smiling. So, we noticed his optimism," Lisette Durate said.
Josh Castillo noticed the optimism in Liam's drawings, too, and picked him to help with a new project called Salood. The mission of the nonprofit is to pair pediatric cancer patients with local vendors who collaborate with them to create an item for market. A portion of the proceeds then go back to the patient for every day expenses. The rest go to other families who need financial assistance.
"We thought, 'Why don't we do something where we put patient in the driver's seat to create something in a large platform and simultaneously raise money for childhood cancer?'" Josh Castillo, co-founder of Salood, told NBC 5.
"Seventy percent of patients have a parent stop working or working reduce hours so there is a huge loss of income in the beginning, and they still have all their living expenses on top of treatment," said co-founder Kenny Freeland.
Castillo and Freeland found an artist who brought Liam's drawings to life in a T-shirt now for sale, to help Liam's family and others.
"He was so excited to do this. He felt very motivated to do it because it would be something he created and see it on someone else wearing and also because he knew it would help out other families," Lisette Durate said.
"We think God has helped us a lot, and he's just really strong, a really strong boy," said Liam's father, Arturo.
And, now a boy with a new purpose to help others.