Salamanca student raises funds — and vegetables — for hospital research

Nine-year-old Drew Clayson spent the summer of 2019 tending to a garden and selling its produce to raise funds for research at Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo.

SALAMANCA — Local student Drew Clayson has been putting his green thumb to work this summer, raising funds and crops for hospital research.

Last year, one of nine-year-old Drew’s best friends had to have a long stay at Oishei Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, Drew’s mom Stacey Clayson told the Press. Even after his stay, Drew’s friend had to go back for continual testing.

“Being 9, Drew had a hard time understanding why the doctors couldn’t just figure out the problem and fix it,” she said. “We discussed how doctors and scientists don’t know all of the answers, and they do research to learn and discover new treatments.”

When Drew found out his mom wasn’t going to plant a vegetable garden this year, Clayson said he asked if he could plant vegetables, tend to the garden and then sell the veggies to help raise money so more research could be done at Oishei’s Children’s Hospital.

“After discussing how much work a garden really is, we decided as a family he could do this,” she explained.

In the spring, Drew planted many vegetables, and over the summer and fall sold them via his mom’s Facebook page and to other friends, family and community members who heard about his project through word of mouth.

“He kept true to his promise — with a little help from his family — to weed and care for the garden,” Clayson said.

At the end of October, Drew sold his last harvest of broccoli, and wrapped the garden up for the year, raising $210 through his kindness and hard work.

“His family and friends are all so proud of his accomplishment and selfless idea,” Clayson said.

Although the veggies are all gone, if any community members or businesses would like to donate or match Drew’s funds, call (716) 307-6066 and leave your contact information.