OLD TOWN, Maine — Two fast friends who met in a roundabout way through fundraising to prevent cancer, have decided to partner together and work on a fundraiser they are calling “Seeds of Hope.”
“He inspires me,” Tyler Priest, 6, of Old Town said Friday talking about Bangor resident Tommy Hosmer, 14. “He inspires me because he raised all that money.”
Hosmer has been a part of the Eastern Maine Medical Center’s Champion the Cure Challenge since age 10 and is now the group leader of Team Mimi, in honor of his grandmother, Linda.
“His ‘mimi’ passed away from ovarian cancer when he was 9,” his mom, Bobbi Hosmer, said. “She was diagnosed when he was in kindergarten so for most of his life, she was sick with cancer. He started fundraising when he was 10.”
“In 5 years, I’ve raised $20,000,” Tommy Hosmer, a Bangor High School sophomore, said.
Tyler Priest and his mother, Shianne, a music teacher at Leonard Middle School in Old Town, got involved with the Champion the Cure Challenge after fellow teacher Gert Nesin was diagnosed with breast cancer the summer of 2013.
Tommy Hosmer was honored at last year’s Champion the Cure Challenge in August, and Tyler Priest was there to see him standing in the spotlight. He did not know the older teenager, but fate would soon bring them together.
“Did he win the race,” the youngster asked his mom, Shianne Priest recalled this week. “I said, ‘No. He was being recognized for raising money for cancer research.’ My son said, ‘I want to do that, mom.’”
And that is how Tyler Priest got started. His first fundraiser, which raised $1,500, was selling Christmas ornaments.
The two boys met for the first time in December after the Hosmers saw a television spot where Tyler Priest talked about how he was inspired by a teenager at the Champion the Cure event, and Bobbi Hosmer figured out it was her son.
Together the boys recently came up with the “Seeds of Hope” idea. Lowe’s of Brewer donated the seed packets and the youngsters are giving them away for a suggested $5 donation.
“You can plant the seeds in honor of someone and they come back every year,” Tommy Hosmer said of the perennial seeds.
Tyler Priest and Tommy Hosmer will be out together at Marden’s in Brewer 10 a.m.-noon on April 26, and 4-6 p.m. on Tues, May 5 raising money for cancer research.
“They are both boys with big hearts,” Shianne Priest said of her son and his new fundraising buddy.
Those who cannot make it to Mardens when the boys are hosting their fundraiser can send a check for $5 addressed to Champion the Cure to: Seeds of Hope, P.O. Box 278, Old Town, Maine, 04468.