Local nonprofit, Life Vest Inside, hosts “Kindness Sting” operation for Ridgefield boy with incurable cancer
RIDGEFIELD — Wyatt Draper lives with his family in Ridgefield. He likes many things other 5-year-old boys like. He is always smiling and his positive attitude is infectious.
He also has a form of incurable brain cancer.
Despite having few reasons to be joyful, Wyatt and his family have chosen to spread kindness in as many ways as they can. The local nonprofit organization, Life Vest Inside, recognized Wyatt for just that reason last Friday.
Headed up by life-long resident and COO Jason Hattrick, Life Vest Inside is a Brooklyn-based organization which is running a program in Clark County known as Inspiring Kindness.
In partnership with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office and other local cities and law enforcement, Inspiring Kindness is about issuing “kindness citations” to people, mainly children, who are offering inspiration in their communities.
“It’s always about being kind to one another and loving on each other, which we lose sight of so often in this world,” Hattrick said at the Kindness Sting Operation for Wyatt. “What Wyatt’s doing here today, by standing here bravely as he is, he’s letting us know that even in the darkest of struggles there can be joy found.”
Wyatt was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), which causes a brain tumor to form at the base of his brain. There is currently no cure for DIPG, but Wyatt has received radiation treatment that has stabilized the tumor for now.
“We go honestly day-to-day … sometimes hour-to-hour,” said Sara Draper, Wyatt’s mother. “We’re just trying to do as much stuff as we can as a family, and think about all the positives. In a way we have to be a little willing to let people in on our story; into our life.”
The Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Ridgefield Police Department, Clark County Fire and Rescue, the Hockinson High School girls soccer team, and even representatives from the NBA came out to support Wyatt.
“It’s an opportunity for us to give back to our community, and meet the community in a way other than a enforcement, or through the worst day of their life,” said Sheriff Chuck E. Atkins at the Kindness “Sting” for Wyatt. “It gives our officers an opportunity to have a really meaningful face-to-face conversation with those we serve everyday. We love it, it’s growing. We hope to see this spread throughout the nation.”