Young Aaron Gonzalez had a birthday coming up, but he didn’t want a big party with gifts. No, the boy with a rare genetic disorder called Neurofibromatosis type II who is also a “Wish Kid,” wanted to start a GoFundMe account to raise money for books for hospitalized kids.
“I did it because the doctors helped me and I want to help other kids,” said the shy, quiet 10-year-old. “So they can read and have fun like me.”
On Aaron’s actual birthday, July 6, he reached his goal of $1,000. The money was donated to the Reach Out and Read program operated by the Health Science Center’s Department of Pediatrics, and will purchase books for distribution to kids in University Health System facilities.
On July 20, Lizette Gomez, M.D., associate professor/clinical who oversees the pediatrics clinic at University Health System’s Robert B. Green Building downtown, and other staff honored Aaron at a birthday event.
With UHS volunteers and staff dressed up as book characters, Dr. Gomez presented Aaron with a plaque and an oversized copy of Super Heroes. After Happy Birthday was sung, a large cake with a Power Ranger theme made Aaron and other kids smile.
Aaron’s mom and dad, Ross and Tiffany Gonzalez, and his three brothers beamed throughout the ceremony. Tiffany said she was “most definitely” proud of Aaron. Ross sported a T-shirt that read, “I know a fighter.”
“I believe this act of kindness speaks volumes to Aaron’s character and the love and support of his family,” said Beth Payne, director, Academic Programs and division administrator, Education and Training, Department of Pediatrics who helped coordinate the donation and event. “His mother has taught Aaron to love openly, give freely and always keep his head held high even on his toughest days. We need more Aarons in this world!”