Xan Daven-Thomas was only 5 years old when Hospice of Santa Cruz County was there for him and his family, helping care for his mother during the final weeks of her battle with cancer.
Six years later, young Xan has not forgotten.
Now 12, he has made it a goal to help the organization that provided his family with comfort during those difficult days.
“Hospice helped us get through it when she passed away,” said Xan, a seventh-grader at San Lorenzo Valley Middle School.
For more than two years, Xan has been saving his allowance, his birthday money and his Christmas money to contribute to hospice programs.
Between 2011 and 2012, he contributed $800 at the annual Friends of Hospice Oktoberfest event in Scotts Valley by bidding on items at the event’s live auction.
Last year, he bid on and won a lounge chair, and at this year’s event on Oct. 7, his winning bid got him Wrinkles, a large stone elephant carved by a local artist.
According to his stepmother, Sheri Dean Thomas, Xan and his sister, Sienna Daven-Thomas, 14, are no strangers to raising money for charitable causes.
“When we do the Relay For Life,” she said, “the kids each raise their own money.”
Dean Thomas said each child has a savings account to use for such events.
She said supporting the county hospice and the American Cancer Society Relay For Life has helped Xan honor his mother’s memory.
“He lost his mom to cancer when he was 5 years old — she was only 42,” Dean Thomas said. “Some of the ways that they work through that is we go to the hospice Oktoberfest.”
It was at the 2011 Oktoberfest event, Dean Thomas said, that “he decided that he wanted to participate in the live auction.”
Using the money he’d saved, she said, Xan bid on and won the lounger for $400, paying his father back after the event.
“(Xan) is a very thrifty person, so he doesn’t spend his money frivolously,” Dean Thomas said. “He does the bidding himself — he’s like a 30-year-old in a teenager’s body.”
Dean Thomas applauded her stepson’s maturity, saying she was amazed how someone so young could talk history and politics, a hobby of the straight-A student.
“He’s really a cool kid,” she said. “He’s amazing.”
Xan offered a piece of advice for people looking to do some good in their community.
“Save up and find a good charity that you like,” he said.
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