BANGOR, Maine — Eleven-year-old Tommy Hosmer already knows what he will be doing on his 12th birthday, Aug. 18. He and his friends will spend part of the day running the 5k segment of Eastern Maine Medical Center’s Champion the Cure Challenge taking place at the Lafayette Family Cancer Center in Brewer. Tommy’s birthday party will be held later that day.
Tommy, a sixth-grader at the Cohen School in Bangor, will run in memory of his beloved “Mimi,” his grandmother Linda Williams, who lost her life to ovarian cancer when he was 9. Because his grandmother had been ill a long time, Tommy figured out something.
“I wanted to help people who have cancer,” he said. Tommy, an only child, is the son of Bobbie and Paul Hosmer of Bangor. Both parents work full time, Bobbie at Davis Oil and Paul at UniFirst, but they make time to support Tommy in his fundraising efforts.
Tommy’s first opportunity to help people with cancer came in 2010 in the form of 4,000 books a neighbor gave him to sell to raise money for a trip to Disney World the family was planning. Tommy told his parents he would rather donate the money from the sale of the books to EMMC’s CancerCare of Maine. With guidance from his parents, Tommy planned the book and bake sale, which featured a raffle for a book autographed and donated by Stephen King, and a bottle drive. He raised $3,000.
The story of his effort was picked up by CNN and aired on TV. As a result, “He received wonderful letters and people sent donations,” Bobbie Hosmer said. In 2011, Tommy organized a bake sale that raised $1,200 for CancerCare of Maine.
“I learned about the kindness of strangers,” he said.
“Our family has been hit very hard by cancer,” said Paul Hosmer. “My uncle, father, mother, grandmother — they all had cancer. So when Tommy decided he wanted to do this [fundraising], it wasn’t hard to get behind. Tommy saw the effects of cancer and what it takes away from you.”
Tommy is a giving boy, his mother said. When he was a toddler, he was attracted to the bell ringing of The Salvation Army at holiday time and asked for coins to put in the red kettles. And with his birthday money, he would buy school supplies for Manna Ministries in Bangor.
Tommy’s favorite sport is baseball, and he would like to be a professional ball player when he grows up. But until then, he has another goal.
“I want to raise more money with my next fundraiser than the last one,” he said.
Tommy’s most recent fundraiser was Mimi’s Team Softball Tournament held May 12 to benefit EMMC’s CancerCare of Maine.
“I always knew I wanted to to do a sports fundraiser,” he said. Tommy raised $4,000 with the tournament.
“Tommy has a large network of people who help out,” Bobbie Hosmer said. But it was Tommy who talked with staff at the Bangor Parks and Recreation Department to get the ball rolling, so to speak, for the tournament.
“It doesn’t take much to do this,” Tommy said. “Everyone can make a difference. You just have to ask. More people will say ‘yes’ than ‘no.’”
For information, call Paul Hosmer at 974-8005.