12-year-old diagnosed with rare cancer helps raise money for new school

Liam McCalmon, 12, is raising money to bring his school family closer together. (Source: WSMV)
Published: Sep. 6, 2023 at 9:45 AM EDT
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COLUMBIA, Tenn. (WSMV/Gray News) – When 12-year-old Liam McCalmon was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in July 2021, he told his family he wanted two things: to glorify God and for his cancer to have a purpose.

Two years after being diagnosed with Stage 3 Rhabdomyosarcoma, Liam is doing just that by helping raise money to bring his school family closer together.

Rhabdomyosarcoma is a type of cancer that affects soft tissue, connective tissue or bone and typically begins in muscles that are attached to bones that help the body move, according to the National Cancer Institute.

When Liam was offered a wish from Make-A-Wish during his ongoing battle with cancer, his family thought they were going to Disney World or having a meet-and-greet with Robert Downey Jr.

Instead, Liam declared he didn’t want the wish for himself. He wanted it for his school family.

Liam told Make-A-Wish he wanted them to build a new building for his school, Agathos Classical School, which has outgrown its current building and is currently renting out space for classes at a nearby church, separating students, his mother Nicole McCalmon said.

While Make-A-Wish couldn’t grant Liam’s wish to build a new school building, they returned with three options: donate a scholarship in his honor, build a new playground or furnish a new building.

Liam selected the third option, meaning it was up to him to get the new building built on his own accord.

“He’s always had a generous heart,” McCalmon said. “We’ve decided to walk through this as normal as possible. We’ve been blessed so we’ve thought, how can we be a blessing to others?”

Liam and his family are trying to raise $1 million to pay for a new building for his school.

“Since this school is so familial, the separation has been difficult, and the students, faculty and parents deeply miss everyone being together. Hence, Liam’s Wish,” the fundraising page states.

Make-A-Wish told Liam he could change his mind at any time, but his mother said he was satisfied with his purpose.

“I thought of something to glorify God,” Liam said.

The 12-year-old recently finished treatment and could face more in the future. But for now, he’s focused on raising money for his school in any way he can.