You would be hard pressed to find anyone who would criticize young Jose Montaño for thinking about himself these days. After all, having been diagnosed with one of the most deadly forms of cancer two years ago, the California native might feel entitled to focus all his youthful energy into simply trying to survive.
But instead, the 12-year-old has directed his efforts towards helping other kids like himself, and now he's getting the praise he deserves for it.
“Sometimes people in the hospital don’t have money and they don’t have time, so when they’re hungry they need a snack,” Montaño told San Diego's Fox 5 News in September.
That little bit of consideration is the idea behind what has become a big project for Montaño, which he founded along with his father. The Jose Montaño foundation hands out gift bags to patients who, like the young philanthropist, have to spend (too) many of their days in the hospital.
Montaño himself is a carrier of a disease known as Medulloblastoma, an illness that has resulted from the most malignant brain tumor a child can have. He has gone through intense chemotherapy ever since being diagnosed and spends five days a week in the hospital, but that doesn't stop him from delivering charitable goods by hand around Rady Children's Hospital.
“For one minute he makes them forget that they have a malignant brain tumor,” Dr. John Crawford told Fox. “I think it’s a very powerful message that this boy has brought.”
This past weekend, Montaño's efforts went beyond hospital walls and into the sun as he organized a 5K fundraiser run to raise money for families that his foundation wants to help. 300 people came out and registered in show of support for the event, which was held at San Diego's Liberty Station.
The charity event is just another line in a long list of accomplishments that have made the 12-year-old's father his biggest fan.
"You know, I want to be like my son is. I don't want him to be like me, I want to be like he is," the elder Montaño said. "Even though he's only 12-years-old, he has taught me more about life than what life itself has taught me in 44 years. I am extremely proud of my son."
Moving forward, Montaño says he wants to make the 5K an annual event. No matter what he does from this point on, however, he is likely to keep in mind the six simple words he spoke on camera.
"Never give up and give back."
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