Flynn Yoakum is a five-year-old boy who calls himself a “master builder” because he loves Legos.
“What is it about Legos he loves?” I ask his mom, Annie Yoakum.
“Something about concentrating, following instructions, and having a pile of pieces and then the gratification of creating something. That ‘look at what I made’ moment. And then smashing it and starting all over again”. She giggles and continues, “Flynn is an old soul. We always thought this, and now we know it. It takes a special kind of kid to be able to get through these kinds of things.”
Annie, and her husband, Derek Yoakum, have been living at the Bone Marrow Transplant House, across the street from the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland with their son Flynn, who recently received a Stem Cell Transplant for Aplastic Anemia, a rare blood disorder he acquired in January. While Flynn recovers, the Yoakums cannot go home because they live too far from the hospital.
Flynn’s brother, Coen, is three and one-half years old and doesn’t quite understand what’s going on, but he clearly misses his brother.
“What happens when Flynn reunites with his little brother?” I ask Annie. “They scream. It’s like we don’t exist. And then we remember they are little boys who love one another. A little while of loud craziness is well worth it. It’s really cute to see them reunite.”
The Yoakums are generally private people, so for them, asking for community support through YouCaring was challenging at first. What’s been the greatest gift of fundraising?” I ask.
“People always want to know and check in on us. It’s been therapeutic to be able to talk about each step in his journey and in our journey. And then strangers support Flynn and send messages like, ‘I had Aplastic Anemia when I was Flynn’s age, and now I’m 35 and I have kids, and he can get through it.’ It’s pretty amazing.”
To date, the Yoakums have raised more than $37,000. To learn more about Flynn’s story and to support his campaign, go here.