Leukemia Slayer Plays Santa For Fourth Year


Santa Slayer at the Four SeasonsJacob Goeders, the Leukemia Slayer, may have conquered cancer and moved clear across the country this year, but he’s not about to let go of his beloved annual Santa Slayer Project he started four years ago to buy Christmas gifts for other kids fighting the disease.

Jacob, 13, announced to Facebook fans on Tuesday, Nov. 18, that he’s repeating the Santa Slayer Project, asking for only $1 from each of his more than 10,500 fans. The money will go to buy gifts for children at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital (LPCH) in Palo Alto, as well as on the oncology ward at the Duke University Medical Center and the Ronald McDonald House, in Durham, North Carolina. Jacob’s family moved to the southern state from Mountain View earlier this year. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in June


Being a good neighbor is rewarding, but it does take some time and effort. Sometimes it’s spontaneous, like when you see someone who donut_grlneeds help carrying something, or someone who just needs a smile and kind word. But often it requires some planning, making space on the calendar, and digging into your pockets. Every month I give you five suggestions for community events, volunteer service events, and more. Put one of these on your June calendar, and then enjoy the rewards of helping others!

1. Share Some Fried Dough Goodness: Friday, June 6, is National Donut Day, originally started to commemorate the Salvation Army “Lassies,” young volunteer women who made and delivered fresh doughnuts to American soldiers in Europe during World War I and II. When the soldiers returned home they craved the sweet treats, and the rest of America was introduced to the doughnut. Krispy Kreme gives away a free doughnut to each customer (no purchase required), and many other doughnut shops are running their own specials. Make your friends and co-workers smile that day with a fresh, hot batch. Or make the day a little more meaningful than just calories by making a donation to the Salvation Army, to support the organization’s extensive community programs and disaster relief efforts. Entenmann’s, which makes 780 million doughnuts annually, is teaming up with the Salvation Army this year, by offering to donate $1 for every new “like” on its Facebook page during June, up to $30,000. [Read more…]

Leukemia Slayer Defeats Cancer, Will Keep Helping Other Kids


The Leukemia Slayer has conquered cancer, or in his words, he, “kicked cancer’s butt!”

Jacob Goeders Slays Leukemia

Jacob Goeders letting his 10,000+ fans on Facebook know his bone marrow is free from cancer.

The 12-year-old Slayer, a.k.a. Mountain View resident Jacob Goeders let his more than 10,000 Facebook fans know recently that he is cancer-free after a battle lasting 3 years and 3 months.

In his usual friendly and non-capitalized style, Jacob wrote on The Leukemia Slayer Facebook Page, “hello it is the leukemia slayer well it is official i have slayed leukemia!!!!!!! i was so happy to hear my dr come in and say who in this room has clear bone marrow? that would be me!!”

I had the great privilege of meeting Jacob in December 2011 at a Christmas party in Mountain View for kids with cancer and their families. He told me about his “Santa Slayer” project, where he asked his then 2,000 Facebook fans to each send $1 so he could buy holiday gifts for the other sick kids on the cancer ward at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital. Despite being in the fight of his life, all he could think about was how crummy it was for other kids to be in a cancer ward at Christmastime. He himself had spent a good chunk of December 2010 in that same ward, immediately after being diagnosed.

[Read more…]

Leukemia Slayer Playing Santa to Kids With Cancer Third Year in a Row


Santa Slayer at the Four SeasonsLong before there was a Batkid, there was The Leukemia Slayer, the alter ego of 12-year-old Jacob Goeders from Mountain View, who has been fighting the disease since December 2010. Besides using his super powers to give nasty cancer cells the one-two punch, the Slayer leads the way each holiday season to raise money to buy presents for other kids on the oncology ward at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital.

“I wanted to make other kids feel good, and I wanted to do something,” Jacob told me during last year’s fundraiser he dubbed The Santa Slayer Project. “I felt good because I was helping other kids who were stuck in the hospital like I was.”

In 2010, Jacob nearly spent Christmas in the hospital undergoing treatment, and it was that memory one year later that spurred him to start the annual project. His family had started The Leukemia Slayer Facebook Page earlier in 2011 (Jacob picked out the alter ego name for himself), and by the fall he had already had amassed about 2,000 followers. He asked them to each send in $1 so he could by presents, and amazingly he did raise about $2,000. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in June


Child-Advocates-Silicon-ValleyIt’s warm in the Bay Area this weekend, a preview of the summer ahead. After school is out, and graduations are over, think about helping out  to make our communities just a little nicer and friendlier during this season. Here are five suggestions for the month of June.

1. Speak Up for Children: The nonprofit group  Child Advocates of Silicon Valley is looking for volunteers who are willing to stand up and aid children in the foster care system. More than 100 children are currently on the waiting list for advocate services. Orientations for interested or new volunteers are taking place throughout the month at locations in Gilroy, Morgan Hill, Saratoga, Milpitas, and San Jose. See the group’s orientation page for more information.

2. Enjoy Some Music, Dance, and Food in SF: Kick off your summer with some great music and maybe some dancing in The City. Saturday, June 8, and Sunday, June 9, tap your feet to the beat of the Golden Gate Band Festival, at the Spreckels Temple of Music in Golden [Read more…]

Profiles in Kindness


For Day 3 of Random Acts of Kindness Week, I’m sharing a few examples of people who are all about showing kindness to others.  They are Jacob-Goeders-Leukemia-Slayer-Santa-Slayer-Project-kindness-good-neighbor-storiespeople that see a need and try to fill it, and naturally feel compassion toward people facing difficult circumstances.

Take a moment to read about these kind folks, and consider where you might see a need that could be filled. In the meantime, you can try today’s Random Acts of Kindness Foundation assignment by reaching out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a long time. Circle back and let me know how it goes, or share any other act of kindness you perform or encounter.

There’s a link to the full story at the end of each profile. Also, take a look at my posts for Day 1 and Day 2 of Random Acts of Kindness Week 2013 for more inspiration.

Jacob Goeders

The first profile in kindness is a young man who is extremely pure in heart, and filled with courage despite the challenges he faces. He is Jacob Goeders, better known as The Leukemia Slayer.

Jacob is an 11-year-old boy in a multi-year battle with leukemia. I met Jacob back in December 2011 at a Christmas event for children with serious illnesses. He shared with me about how he asked his 2,000 friends on his Leukemia Slayer Facebook page to send in a $1 each, so he could buy presents for the other kids on the oncology ward. It seems he had been diagnosed the year before around Christmastime, and he knew how difficult it was to be stuck in the hospital undergoing painful treatments. [Read more…]

‘Leukemia Slayer’, Age 11, Plays Santa for Fellow Kids With Cancer


Jacob Goeders, a.k.a. The Leukemia Slayer, a.k.a. Santa

Imagine being a kid stuck in a cancer ward at Christmastime, getting poked and prodded, feeling sick, and very often bored waiting for the next test or blood draw, while missing out on all the magic and fun of the season.

Jacob Goeders of Mountain View, CA., 11, doesn’t have to imagine, because he’s lived it. And because he knows what it’s like, Jacob is in his second year playing “Santa” to dozens of children at Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital in Palo Alto this week, delivering presents he purchased after raising money from Facebook friends, and friends of friends.

Two years ago on Dec. 2, Jacob was diagnosed with high risk Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, landing him in the Packard cancer ward during the holiday season. Christmas was suddenly upended for Jacob, his mom, Sherry, his dad, Todd, and his little brother Jordan, then age 4.

As the one-year anniversary of the diagnosis approached last year, Jacob got an idea: what if he asked all his friends to donate $1 so that he could buy Christmas presents for the other children on the cancer ward and bring them a little holiday cheer?

“I wanted to make other kids feel good, and I wanted to do something,” Jacob told me recently. “I felt good because I was helping other kids who were stuck in the hospital like I was.” [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in December


It’s December, which means it’s holiday time, when many people feel that tug to spread good cheer to others. We’ve got five ways you can indulge in the spirit of giving this month. If you’ve got additional ideas, please share in the comments!


Jacob Goeders, a.k.a the Leukemia Slayer, in December 2011.

1. Give to a Holiday Drive:Some people love the tradition of giving at the holidays, others are looking for an end-of-year tax deduction. Whatever the reason, you can help a lot of people in need have a brighter season by contributing to a holiday drive, either with goods or cash. One of our favorite fundraisers, Jacob Goeders, a.k.a. The Leukemia Slayer, is raising money for the second year in a row for his Santa Slayer Project. This young man uses money donated to the project to buy gifts for other children on the Lucille Packard Children’s Hospital cancer ward, where he himself is being treated for leukemia. But you need to hurry, Jacob needs to finish up shopping soon. Other charities are collecting items like socks, bedding, or coats. Still others could really use gift cards to give to clients, or cash donations to buy what is most needed. Look for food donation barrels at stores and other locations to help local food banks combat hunger at the holidays. Or donate to the Good Neighbor Stories Virtual Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. Our goal is to raise $1,500 by Jan. 1, 2013.

2. Give the Gift of Time: If you’re low on cash and items to share, consider volunteering your time this month. The United Way of Silicon Valley is looking for volunteers to help spread holiday cheer to the children of East San Jose. Every child at four schools will receive presents from their wish list, along with a book to encourage reading skills. Younger siblings will also receive gifts. Sign up for a shift today before all the spaces are filled. Find more volunteer opportunities at HandsOn Bay Area, and One Brick Silicon Valley.

3. Consider Giving Alternative Gifts: If you’re scratching your head wondering what to give as gifts this year, consider alternative gifts that both honor those you are giving to, and make a difference in the world. Alternative gifts range from donations made in the recipient’s name, to items purchased from nonprofits and companies focused on social justice. A great place to shop for gifts in person is the Holiday Peace and Social Justice Craft and Info Fair, 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Sunday, Dec. 9, at the First Presbyterian Church of Palo Alto, 1140 Cowper St., Palo Alto (I’ll be there selling the Good Neighbor Stories 2013 Datebook!). Or, “shop” online at Alternative Gifts International, which has been providing gifts of food, shelter, trees, animals, medicine, and more, since 1986. Pick from 30 different projects located all over the world (including the U.S.) to support in honor of your friend or loved one. [Read more…]

Five Ways to be a Good Neighbor in September


September is the “Other New Year”, when the slower-paced summer comes to an end, and a new busier season starts to ramp up. In a way it’s another fresh start, with all new opportunities to be better neighbors in our communities and the world. Here are five ways to be a good neighbor this month.

1. Support Kids With Cancer: In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, get educated about what children and teens diagnosed with cancer and their families experience, and find out how you can help. According to The Truth 365, a volunteer organization that created a documentary and social media campaign to educate the public about pediatric cancer, more than 13,500 youth under the age of 20 are diagnosed with cancer each year. Of those, approximately 2,500 succumb to their cancer; the average age of a child who dies from cancer is 8. Most causes of pediatric cancer remain a mystery, and there is no known way to prevent it. Find out more by visiting The Truth 365. While there you can sign a petition demanding more funding for pediatric cancer research, or even donate money toward research. Or, check out and donate to Alex’s Lemonade Stand, which also supports childhood cancer research. Another great way to stay on top of the issue and show support for Jacob Goeders, a Bay Area boy known as “The Leukemia Slayer”, and his family, is by “liking” his Facebook page. The family is posting items about childhood cancer all month.

2. Take a Week (or just a day) to Show You Care and Remember: Sept. 11 was declared a National Day of Service and Remembrance [Read more…]