Durham boy celebrates birthday, honors grandfather’s memory with donation to UNC Cancer Center

North Carolina

DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) — For any kid, turning 10 is a pretty big deal, and for Bryson Mittman of Durham this birthday was extra special.

Friends and strangers donated to make his birthday wish come true, but his wish wasn’t for himself. It was a wish to help others, in memory of his grandfather.

There’s no question, Mittman admires his grandad.

“He’s good at math, and I get my math from him,” explained Bryson.

With a doctorate in mathematics, his grandfather passed on a love of learning and a lot more. Bonita Mittman sees elements of her father when she looks at her son.

“His smile, his giving spirit, definitely his math skills as he just reminded me,” she noted, adding, “Lots of dad in Bryson.”

It didn’t surprise Bonita Mittman when, several years ago, Bryson decided to donate his birthday money to fight multiple myeloma, the cancer his grandfather was battling.

“I wanted to see how I could help out, and I wanted to see if I could help out others, too,” explained Bryson.

The donations became a birthday tradition, and as Bryson grew, so did his birthday wishes.

This year he wanted to raise $1,000 for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation and UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, where his grandad received care during his 17-year cancer fight.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Bryson accepted drive-by donations and asked people to contribute online. He surpassed his goal, raising $1,400, all in memory of his grandfather, who, sadly, died in December.

“I miss him a lot,” said Bryson.

His mom knows Bryson’s generosity would make his grandad proud.

“My dad was very generous man, so it’s beautiful to see that continuing to live on,” she said.

While Bryson gave up his own birthday presents, he’ll always be grateful for the lifelong gifts his grandfather left him: a talent for math, a spirit of generosity, and the understanding that small acts of kindness really add up.

If you’d like to contribute to UNC Lineberger Cancer Center or the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation in honor of Bryson’s grandfather, click here. Contributions can also be made here: 
Fundraising for Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

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