DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – A Miami Valley mother whose 5-year-old son died of cancer is turning her grief into action. She’s giving back to kids fighting to survive.
For Kennyatta Mays, family and faith is the fuel that’s kept her going after losing her 5-year-old son Sean to leukemia.
Determined not to let her son die in vain, she’s now bringing new hope to other kids, to raise awareness about a battle no child should ever have to fight.
“He just loved,” Mays said. “That little tricycle.”
Mays lights up talking about her playful, energetic 5-year-old son Sean. He was a big brother to little Trey.
“He was helping me out,” Mays said. “I had just come home from the hospital.”
A photo taken in 1995 was just 3 months before Sean was diagnosed with acute nonlymphocytic leukemia. He died two months later. Mays and her husband were devastated.
“It was tough for me,” Mays said. “It was tough for him. That’s still a very difficult time and I just cried it out.”
The garage of her Clayton home is packed full of memories.
“This is,” Mays said. “The box.”
Its a box filled with her son’s belongings. Things she hasn’t revisited since his death more than 20 years ago.
This month, to honor Sean Mays is heading to the salon, donating 10 inches of hair to locks of love. It’s a charity that provides hairpieces to kids suffering long-term medical hair loss.
“I did it. I did it,” Mays said. “Oh man that feels so good.”
Saving lives is now Kennyatta’s main mission, planning to host a leukemia fundraiser this month on what would have been Sean’s 28th birthday.
“There’s a lot that can be done for people who have leukemia,” Mays said. “There’s a lot of support and there’s a lot of things that the community can do so I thought bring all of them together and let’s celebrate.”
The celebration kicks off this Saturday at JW’s Wine Cellar in Trotwood from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Mays is partnering with the Leukemia and Lymphoma society, as well as the Community Blood Bank and Locks of Loves.
There will be music, food and entertainment and a chance for people to follow in Mays footsteps and donate their hair as well.