A mix of tears and outrage over the theft of a Rock Hill child cancer patient’s donation jar has led to a torrent of new donations.
The Herald reported Monday that the jar, belonging to the family of 2-year-old Austin Blackwell, was stolen from Rock Hill’s Little Cafe.
The money - about $75 had been donated at the time - was to be used for expenses when the family travels to Duke University hospital in North Carolina for Austin’s liver transplant surgery.
The response from the public? Howling mad, then dig deep and give.
More than $460 in donations poured in at the Little Cafe on Cherry Road.
Brandon Guffey, owner of 360 Supply in Rock Hill, said after reading the story that he contacted the ill boy’s father, Michael Blackwell.
Guffey asked if he could put out a donation jar at his business on Mount Gallant Road, and he added some seed money that already was a mighty oak.
Guffey donated $1,000.
And he has reached out to other businesses to also put out donation jars.
“The community, if it comes together, can find a way to really help this family,” Guffey said.
Guffey’s customers also donated Tuesday.
Guffey, also a father, posted on Facebook: “Let’s all get together and help this family. It’s hard to me to imagine the money we can raise for a political campaign, but can’t seem to do the same for those truly suffering in our community.”
Charlotte radio host Keith Larson spent part of his show Tuesday on the topic of a villain who would steal a donation jar from a child with cancer.
The suspect has not been identified or caught.
Rock Hill Police Department officers are seeking surveillance video and photos to try and identify the thief.
Michael Blackwell said support from people such as Guffey and other strangers has been “amazing” after people learned about the theft.
“People have just been great,” Blackwell said. “That’s the real Rock Hill.”