WEST ALLIS, Wis. — At first glance, Naudia Greenawalt and Linkin Eger look like your typical 12-year-old friends. They're goofballs, jump on each other's backs for piggyback rides, and won't pass up on a good opportunity to ditch school (like an interview with the news). But behind the scenes, the two have started one of the most incredible pay-it-forward campaigns you will ever hear.
“It’s about kids writing books about kids with cancer," Linkin Eger said.
“So kids that don’t understand what cancer is, they can learn more about it," Naudia Greenawalt said.
They created the organization called My Friend Linkin. They write biographical-type books about kids with cancer, so other kids can understand what they are going through.
It all started when the two were about seven. Naudia asked to write about Linkin’s journey with cancer. At the time, he had a tumor in his head.
She asked things like "How did the chemo therapy go?" or even questions like "Are you afraid of dying?"
"I decided to ask that question because maybe other people would want to know like someone with cancer are they like afraid to die, and are they afraid to know that they have the chance of dying," Naudia said.
When Linkin was asked what his answer was, he said, "No, only of spiders."
With that information, Naudia wrote the book 'My Friend Linkin'. That inspired a pay-it-forward moment. Linkin then wrote about his classmate Mackenzie and her cancer journey. Then Mackenzie wrote about Jordan's journey. That's the My Friend Linkin project. Kids write about other kids with cancer.
“We wanted to write about other people, because we wanted to have them be heard and have them share their journey with their cancer," Greenawalt said.
There are four books published with a fifth on the way.
It's a way to let these kids be heard and understood. Vocalizing what it's like to go through cancer as a child is difficult, but this makes it a little easier to explain.
"I like to share what I’m going through with other people," Linkin said.
Today, the tumor in Linkin’s head is gone. However, unfortunately, some people who have written books or been written about have passed.
“It’s very difficult, because they were very close friends," Linkin said.
That’s part of the battle with cancer, though, so these books memorialize the children. They are ways of preserving their legacies.
Anyone can get involved. You can either purchase a book or nominate someone to be part of the project. The majority of sales go to paying medical bills for the children involved. Go to the My Friend Linkin website for more.