Although he's just 7 years old, Tyler Wills has a heart devoted to helping others. He's been doing just that for three years and counting. This Saturday, his efforts will continue in Neosho.
Kids Helping Kids, a fundraiser for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, will take place at the Civic Center in downtown Neosho. The day-long event kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday and will continue into the evening.
There will be concessions for sale, including hot dogs, nachos and popcorn, while they last.
A bake sale will take place between noon and one p.m. A silent auction on a wide variety of items will be held from 1-2 p.m. Raffle tickets for items including a push mower, weed eater and two rounds of golf will be drawn and winners announced at 6:30 p.m.
Live music will begin at 2 p.m. and continue until the event ends, which should be around 8-9 p.m. according to Tyler's mom, Trina Wills. Performers will include Ashlynne Grey, Alyssas Galvan, The Brower Family, Dillion Leggett of Riverton, KS and Brandon Doris, Galena, KS.
There will also be an opportunity to pose with a hero since Nicky's Mighty Heroes will be on hand. Nicky's Mighty Heroes - founded by Grove Police Department records clerk Nicky Bassett - will be posing for photos. Bassett dresses as heroes - her costumes run from Wonder Woman and Supergirl to Cinderella and Belle of Disney fame - to visit sick children, children with special needs, and adults in long-term care facilities.
100% of the money raised will go to St. Jude's to help other kids. A group to support Tyler's ongoing efforts was formed on Facebook and according to Trina Wills, there will be separate donation buckets at the event for Tyler's Calling.
"Those buckets will be plainly marked," Wills said. "That money will go toward future fundraisers."
When Tyler was asked why he chose St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, he smiled.
"It's really the only children's hospital I know that helps kids for free, that doesn't leave them with big hospital bills. It's for anyone that the hospital wants to help."
The Neosho Youth Volunteer Program has been invited to join forces with Tyler for the event.
"Even before he was born," Wills said. "It was prophesied that he would do great for the Lord."
Willis had been told she was unable to have children and now has a family. Tyler has overcome several health issues in his life and remains enthusiastic about helping others.
"I started when I was four years old," he said. His first fundraiser was also for St. Jude's but through his school. With some parental help and support, he's organized several others, Last fall, he raised money for the Ronald McDonald House in Joplin with an event at the Seneca Area Fire Protection District station in Racine.
Tyler, who will be a second grader at Westview School this fall, also enjoys inventing things. His materials, according to his mom, is just about anything.
"I'm trying to make a grave digger monster truck," he said.
Tyler is the son of Brandin and Trina Wills, Racine.
Join Tyler in his lifelong quest to help others at Kids Helping Kids, Saturday, June 13 from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. or later at the Civic in Neosho, 109 West Main Street. For more information, visit Tyler's Calling on Facebook.