SOUTH ABINGTON TOWNSHIP -- A 7-year-old boy from Lackawanna County has fought cancer many times. Now, he's working to help other children.
September is Pediatric Cancer Awareness Month, and he organized a special event.
On a gray, cloudy, September day, hundreds of people lined up for ice cream served by a warm ray of sunshine named Matthew McDonnell.
Thanks to an intensive cell therapy, Matthew is in remission from stage four kidney cancer.
"It's because I get ninja cells in me like every month," McDonnell said.
He was first diagnosed at three and a half years old.
"When you're first told that your child has cancer, time just kind stops for a second. It just sinks in. You're in complete shock," said Patrick McDonnell, Matthew's father.
"I felt like the world had stopped," said Linda McDonnell, Matthew's mother.
Aggressive treatment involving an intense cell therapy brought Matthew into remission, but the cancer came back. After another remission, it came back again. And again.
"I had to get needles every couple of weeks," Matthew said. "It was scary for me."
Matthew's latest remission has lasted five months so far. Rather than worry about his future, he's thinking about others.
"I'm excited about raising money for the kids, like helping the doctors find cures for cancer," Matthew said.
He set up Matthew's Miraculous Ice Cream Stand at Hillside Park near Clarks Summit. He will donate all of the money to Alex's Lemonade Stand.
"I'm just happy to be here to help the kids," Matthew said.
The National Cancer Institute spends just four-percent of its funds on childhood cancer research.
"It's really discouraging, and we really want to bring awareness with Matthew's Ice Cream Stand to show the world that our kids deserve more than four percent," Patrick McDonnell said.
"I want them to be healed so they don't have cancer anymore," said Matthew.
Matthew is on a mission to make a difference, one scoop at a time.
"We couldn't be more proud of him. He is such a fighter. He keeps such a positive attitude," Patrick McDonnell said.
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