‘Be the Change’ project puts snacks in hospital

Published 1:44 am Friday, December 7, 2018

Two years ago, Andalusia High School senior Morgan Bledsoe met Opp teenager Malcom Dakota “Dee” Brundidge, who has struggled with cancer since childhood. Now, Brundidge’s story has become the inspiration for Bledsoe’s Be the Change Senior Service Project.

Be the Change is a senior English assignment that requires students to complete a project in conjunction with a research paper.

Bledsoe is organizing a snack drive for the eighth floor of Children’s Hospital in Birmingham, where Brundidge is currently a patient. She came up with the idea after seeing a post from Brundidge’s mother on Facebook.

The Opp teen has been fighting brain cancer since he was 18 months old. Doctors performed emergency surgery to remove a new brain tumor seven months ago, and his family has learned the cancer has spread to his kidneys and lungs.

“I have been following Dee’s story for a while,” Bledsoe said. “And I saw where his mom posted something on Facebook where their snack pantry at the hospital was empty, so I felt led to hold a snack drive for the entire floor.”

This project was not Bledsoe’s first idea, she originally thought about preparing baskets for soldiers overseas.

“I didn’t really know how I would go about doing that,” Bledsoe said. “So I knew that I could do this and make a difference in someone else’s life.”

Bledsoe feels that this project could really make an impact on the lives of the patients that she is helping.

“By doing this I am making the patients see that people really care about them,” Bledsoe said. “That they aren’t forgotten.”

Bledsoe did her research paper on suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder, and though it may not seem like the project and paper connect, she has learned otherwise.

“What they are going through is definitely a tough situation,” Bledsoe said. “So they could be having suicidal thoughts and feel like they don’t have a reason to live.”

Bledsoe said that people should donate to her cause because it is benefitting someone close to home.

“This is a worldwide problem,” Bledsoe said. “But we have a chance to come together as a community and help somebody that is close from home.”

Brundidge is still fighting as hard as he can, according to an update on his Facebook page “Dee’s Journey.”

Brundidge’s mother posts, “Instead of being ready to think about a kidney transplant around March 2019, we agreed to, after the lung surgery, immediately start another 29 plus weeks of chemo for the Renal Cell Carcinoma in both kidneys and the osteosarcoma in his brain. Yes, we tried it unsuccessfully before but, this will be yet another chemo cocktail combination attempt.”

Brundidge’s mother said that by next Christmas or around January 2020 they will think about receiving a new kidney for him.

For any one who wants to donate to Bledsoe’s project she needs:

• Capri-sun

• Mini Macaroni and Cheese

• Ravioli

• Gummies

• Variety pack chips

• Slim Jims

• Canned soups

• Ramen/cup noodles

• Cookies

• Trail mix

• Granola bars

• Candy bars

• Popcorn

• Cases of water

Anyone interested in donating can take those items to Massey Automotive or Check-N-Go.