SHERIDAN — What started out as adults trying to play a practical joke on their neighbors took a more meaningful turn in the hands of their children.
In late April, Brayden Brutlag and Becca Oetken, both students at Holy Name Catholic School, went out to play in the ravine behind their home. When they returned, they showed their parents an assortment of animal bones they had collected.
“All the parents were rather stunned with their bone collection and suggested the kids pawn the bones off on the neighbors to beautify their rock beds or flower gardens,” Valerie Brutlag said.
It was meant to be a practical joke, but it took an unexpected turn.
Brutlag and Oetken returned an hour later with $8.81.
Curious about how the children had managed to raise so much money by selling bones, Valerie Brutlag asked them to role play with her. She pretended to open her front door and asked the kids to give her their sales pitch.
“Would you like to buy a bone for your rock bed or would you like to make a donation for a first-grade girl at my school who got cancer?” Brayden Brutlag said.
The adults laughed at the perceived con, but Valerie Brutlag began to cry, she said.
The children had turned the task into a fundraiser for their classmate Avaleena Gallegos, who was diagnosed with Neuroblastoma in September 2014 and received a bone marrow transplant in April.
Over the next several weeks, Brutlag and Oetken continued to go door to door, asking for donations for Gallegos and doing odd jobs to raise their own money to give.
“What started as a practical joke on our neighbors turned into over a $1,000 donation for Avaleena Gallegos’s bone marrow transplant thanks to a young boy and girl that somehow found a purpose for the bone collection and a community with generous hearts,” Valerie Brutlag said.