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There’s nothing small about the heart of a child

Blake Moeller 10  with his sister Cassidy 7.

Blake Moeller, 10, with his sister Cassidy, 7.

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Buddy Walk Garage Sale

When: June 21 at the family’s home at 2994 Turnberry Lane in Montgomery.

Where: 294 Turnberry Lane, Montgomery

To donate: Call 630-897-8030

Updated: July 15, 2013 7:48PM

Who knows why some kids have that special mix of compassion and tenacity. Maybe it’s the way they were raised,maybe it’s the way they are born. Probably a combination of both.

Vicki Moeller always knew Blake, her oldest, was a great kid. But she admits to being a little surprised at the outcome of the lemonade stand he and a trio of his Montgomery neighborhood friends put up last year. The fact they raised $20 was impressive in itself. But when then 9-year-old Blake suggested they give the money to “Buddy Walk,” a national fundraising event held every year for children with Down syndrome, she was especially pleased.

Blake is very much aware of the walk. His 7-year-old sister Cassidy has Down syndrome; and the Moeller family, including dad Mark and youngest sister Ainsley, take part in the Chicago-area Buddy Walk each year at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.

Still, when Blake and his friends, 9-year-old Meagan Lesak, and sisters Jillian, 11, and Jordan Anderson, 9, offered to donate all $20 to the charity, “it really did surprise me,” she said.

What followed that lemonade stand donation is even more impressive. Blake wanted to hold a garage sale the following Saturday for Buddy Walk. His mom said OK, but figured she would end up doing all the work for it. But again, she was surprised. He and his friends set it up, stayed out there all day, and even did clean up, she said.

And somehow the group managed to, despite the short notice, in impressive fashion, take in $400.

And now Blake, who will be a fifth-grader at McDole Elementary School, is holding another pay-what-you-want garage sale on June 21 at the family’s home at 2994 Turnberry Lane in Montgomery. This second fundraiser for Buddy Walk promises to be even bigger and better than a year ago, says Moeller, since they’ve had more time to plan and promote it.

When I talked to Blake and his mom earlier this week, their garage was already filling up with lots of items, with neighbors, friends and folks from nearby McDole dropping things off.

Blake is pretty low key about the whole thing. When I asked him why he’s putting so much effort into this charity, he talks about how cool his sister Cassidy is. He’s got a close relationship with her, he told me. And he’s already learned the power of people coming together.

And yes, he also knows how good it feels when you are doing something for a cause so much bigger than you are.

Who knows: The Buddy Walk Garage Sale may end up like Ellen’s Excellent Sale, a huge event benefiting Lazarus House in St. Charles that was started by then 9-year-old Ellen Wildman of Geneva back in 2003. That young girl’s tenacity and compassion have been responsible for taking in well over $50,000 to help the local homeless.

What started small just keeps growing and growing ... kind of like kids themselves who dare to dream as big as their hearts allow.

Way to go Blake.

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