A kid with a `big heart' reaches out to ill child

October 07, 2007|By Madison Park | Madison Park,Sun Reporter

Devin Frampton is a 12-year-old boy who enjoys playing Little League games and hanging out with friends. What sets the Fells Point youngster apart is that he led a community fundraiser yesterday for a baby with brain cancer.

Standing in the 1500 block of Covington St., Devin watched as hundreds of people ate $2 pit beef sandwiches and 25-cent cupcakes, played games and bought raffle tickets. Proceeds from the event went to the family of 1-year-old Maleah Randall, who has had two brain surgeries and is undergoing chemotherapy.

In August, Devin, a Federal Hill Preparatory School seventh-grader, spotted a sign in his neighborhood that shared Maleah's story and had a photo of the infant.

"It made me upset because the baby had brain cancer," Devin said. "I took [the sign] down and I told my mom I had to help."

Devin said he remembered how his 1-year-old cousin had been hospitalized with a hernia and brain damage.

Although Devin had never met Maleah, he was determined to help her family. He put jugs in restaurants and local businesses for people to donate their change. He and his mother, Tanya Frampton, called local businesses and went door to door in Federal Hill seeking help and donated items for an auction and a raffle.

Devin approached Sherry Hogan, the owner of Hogan's Alley, about using her restaurant for yesterday's fundraiser.

"Devin is the one who organized this, and everyone else pitched in," Hogan said. "It's good that children care about other children."

Yesterday afternoon, a disc jockey blasted pop and country music in front of her restaurant. The fundraiser had the feel of a neighborhood block party as the street was closed to traffic and families ate baked and barbecued goods at picnic tables. Children sold knickknacks and accessories for 50 cents.

"I wanted to have a fundraiser so they wouldn't be worried about their bills," Devin said.

His mother said Devin has a passion for working with children and the elderly. He volunteers with Vietnam War veterans and the American Legion.

When Tanya Frampton saw the turnout at the event, she wiped away tears. Embracing her son, she gave him a quick kiss on the head and said, "I'm so proud of you."

Devin turned red and smiled sheepishly.

Maleah's mother, Brandy Mason, said she knew the Framptons lived near her, but she had never spoken to them. In August, the two families met after Devin began his efforts to help Maleah.

"Maleah doesn't like strangers, but she didn't cry when Devin held her," Mason said.

At the meeting, a picture was taken of a smiling Devin holding Maleah, who had lost her hair because of chemotherapy. The photo was put on a T-shirt and sold at the fundraiser for $6.

"It's remarkable," Mason said about Devin's efforts. "Words can't describe it."

When Maleah was 9 months old, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. She underwent brain surgeries, had a shunt placed in the left side of her head and is continuing treatment at Johns Hopkins Hospital, Mason said. She said Maleah is steadily improving.

Her family assembled a photo collage of Maleah, an infant with green eyes who is learning words like, "mom," "dad" and "baby."

The event, which Devin had hoped would bring in $10,000, had raised more than $16,000 as of last night, and the total is expected to increase, family members said.

Devin spent yesterday afternoon playing games and sitting in a dunk tank.

"I'm very impressed with him, because he's 12 years old and he thinks of something to do for someone he has never met," said Kathleen Hughes, Maleah's aunt. "He's a kid with a big heart. Lots of grown-ups wouldn't have done that."

madison.park@baltsun.com

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