Clayton teen meets President Bush

June 21, 2008 2:09:19 PM PDT
Nicholas Marriam isn't the norm, you would never know it by his smile and calm demeanor, but he's been through a lot.

"It was pretty bad, I had to get chemotherapy Tuesdays and Wednesdays, and I missed two years of school, I couldn't play with my friends."

In one photo taken when he was 6, Marriam holds his baby brother. The teen was diagnosed with t-cell lymphoma cancer just three months after taking this picture.

"I just thought that I was just really sick," he said. "I didn't know it was cancer, but I didn't know how bad it was." And now the 15-year-old Clayton teen is taking his experiences in the hospital to make things better for other children.

"One of my aunts brought a gift bag, and it was like a basket and it had toiletries and stuff, and my mom cried and that's when I thought, 'If the toiletries does this what about toys and stuff?'"

And now he's making other parents cry tears of joy. He and his cousin, Shelby, started the Nickelby Project. It's a non-profit organization that donates gift bags filled with toys for sick children in hospitals in the Triangle, Maryland, Washington D.C. and the Ronald McDonald house.

Marriam will receive the Presidential Volunteer Service Award Friday. President Bush will greet him and shake his hand for all of the hard work and volunteering he has done through his organization.

The Nickelby Project recently received a donated trailer and it's filled with boxes of toys from sponsors like Kohl's. Recently, they held a golf tournament to raise funds for scholarships Marriam hopes to give college bound students.

Marriam says, "it's all worth it you helping, and you have a non profit the best part is the fact your helping people, you know."

Having a non-profit can be extremely busy, so he spends most of his summer working on the project. He says his mom, family and board of directors are major contributors and the reason he is able to keep it going.


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