Boy, 10, With Autism Sells His Drawings For $1 So He Can Buy Toys for His Sick Brother

Haden Edwards has earned around $1,000 for treats for his brother.

When 10-year-old Haden Edwards found out just how sick his brother Max was, he told their mom he wanted to take him on a shopping trip.

"So I asked him, 'Where's your money?'" Cynthia Davis told "I said, 'You can mow the grass or help with the dishes, or do anything else to earn some money.'"

But Haden had a better idea.

"He said he's going to draw pictures," she recalled.

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So Haden, who's always loved to draw, got to work. The youngster, who has autism, set up shop outside the family's home in Lincolnton, North Carolina with a sign that read: "Selling Drawings for Mad Max."

Davis put a note on Facebook asking her friends to come by if they had the time, and within 30 minutes, 30 people showed up, all asking to buy Haden's $1 drawings.

Since then, their mother estimates he's earned approximately $1,000 for his little brother, with help from donations to their Gofundme page.

Max, 7, is battling multiple medical conditions, including Neurofibromatosis, which is a genetic disorder that has caused tumors to grow on his brain. Last year, he underwent an unsuccessful brain surgery. He continues to take daily medications to keep seizures and cramps at bay but his pain is getting worse, his mother said. Next month, they'll find out if he'll undergo another brain surgery or chemotherapy.

A few months ago, Haden joined his brother at some of his doctors' appointments. For Haden, who has autism and bipolar disorder, those visits marked a real change.

"When he realized how sick Max was, it's like it calmed him down," Davis said. "He's not focused on his anger anymore. He's focused on his brother."

He used to enjoy drawing dragons, dinosaurs and lizards, but now he prefers to take requests. He's since drawn Pokémon, angels and memorial pictures for people who've lost a loved one or a pet.

"If he's not sure how to draw something, he watches YouTube videos on different techniques, then he'll do it himself," his mom said.

Now he sells his drawings every few days. After he makes money, he shows Max and they decide how they're going to spend it.

Haden has treated his brother to ice cream and meals from his favorite restaurants, but most often, the money goes towards Legos.

"Then they'll just spend time together," Davis said. "They'll spend all day long with each other."

Haden has always loved to help other people, said Davis, who lives by the mantra "you get what you give." Twice a month, he volunteers for Meals on Wheels — delivering food and scrubbing the trays —and he's also helped hold fundraisers for a nearby nursing home.

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If they're out in a restaurant and Haden sees a veteran or an officer, he'll put $5 towards their meal. And most recently, he said he wants to grow out his red hair — "his pride and joy" — so that it can be turned into wigs for cancer patients.

Max is just as impressed with his big brother's acts of kindness, and he thinks the drawings "are the coolest thing in the world," Davis said.

And while the drawings have no doubt helped Max, they're helping Haden too.

"Being autistic, it's very hard to keep his self-esteem high," his mom said. "That is no longer an issue. Every time he gets a new [picture] request, he just lights right up."

Haden would particularly like to raise awareness about the work carried out by the Children's Tumor Foundation and the Chiari and Syringomyelia Foundation. Visit the family's Gofundme page here.

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