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The things that matter: A young boy inspires kindness

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.

Members of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Ridgefield Police Department, Clark County Fire and Rescue, the Hockinson High School girls soccer team, and representatives from the NBA pose for a group photo at Wyatt’s Kindness “Sting” Friday, Oct. 26. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Members of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, the Ridgefield Police Department, Clark County Fire and Rescue, the Hockinson High School girls soccer team, and representatives from the NBA pose for a group photo at Wyatt’s Kindness “Sting” Friday, Oct. 26. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Sara Draper, Wyatt’s mother, is seen here at her son’s surprise Kindness “Sting” in Ridgefield. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Sara Draper, Wyatt’s mother, is seen here at her son’s surprise Kindness “Sting” in Ridgefield. Photo by Jacob Granneman

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.”

Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins and Jason Hattrick of Life Vest Inside, pose with Wyatt Draper at a surprise event for Wyatt last week. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Clark County Sheriff Chuck Atkins and Jason Hattrick of Life Vest Inside, pose with Wyatt Draper at a surprise event for Wyatt last week. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Tyler Draper, Wyatt’s father, talks with firefighters at his son’s surprise Kindness “Sting” at the Clark County Fire and Rescue station in Ridgefield. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Tyler Draper, Wyatt’s father, talks with firefighters at his son’s surprise Kindness “Sting” at the Clark County Fire and Rescue station in Ridgefield. Photo by Jacob Granneman

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.

Officer Albin Boyse of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, helps Wyatt Draper use the different sirens in his patrol car as part of Wyatt’s surprise kindness party last week. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Officer Albin Boyse of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office, helps Wyatt Draper use the different sirens in his patrol car as part of Wyatt’s surprise kindness party last week. Photo by Jacob Granneman

“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.”

To find out more about Life Vest Inside or the Inspiring Kindness campaign, visit their website or Facebook page.

Firefighter Colby Gratzer poses with Wyatt Draper after presenting him with his very own firefighter helmet with his name emblazoned across the back. Photo by Jacob Granneman
Firefighter Colby Gratzer poses with Wyatt Draper after presenting him with his very own firefighter helmet with his name emblazoned across the back. Photo by Jacob Granneman
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About The Author

Jacob Granneman

Jacob Granneman is a filmmaker and writer from Clark County. He is a recent graduate of Washington State University’s Edward R. Murrow College, where he studied media production. He has produced documentary stories all over the Pacific Northwest and in Argentina. His passions range from loving people, to cinematography, to going on adventures in the most beautiful place on earth, i.e. his backyard. He lives with his wife in Vancouver, WA.

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