On Friday, New York State Senate Minority Leader Rob Ortt presented the New York State Senate Commendation Award to 10-year-old Liam Lynch from North Tonawanda.
Since 2019 Liam has been battling cancer. After bravely undergoing a two-and-a-half-year-long treatment, Liam was able to ring the victory bell at Roswell Park on May 2, 2022. However, after being cancer-free for 10 months, it was discovered just three days before his 10th birthday that it had returned as the more aggressive T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma.
While receiving treatment, Liam noticed many of the children also receiving care did not have enough pajamas – or any at all. Liam and his family also learned hospitals can go through as many as 50 pairs of pajamas in an hour between emergency visits and inpatient procedures. In an effort to help, they began hosting pajama drives, and to date have donated more than 2,300 pairs to children in need. They also began collecting monetary donations to help families pay for parking passes at the Oishei Children’s Hospital oncology unit.
“Liam and his family exemplify the spirit of selflessness known throughout the Western New York community,” Ortt said. “Despite their own battles and struggles, they have taken the time to put others' needs ahead of their own through inspirational charitable work. The New York State Commendation Award is presented to individuals who embody the spirit of community, philanthropy and leadership – and I can’t think of a young man, a family, more deserving of this recognition.”
Liam said, “It is such a huge honor to be receiving this award, it feels good to help families in need! I’m happy to help kids feel more comfortable when they are probably scared. Pajamas are just a small way we can do that! Once people know about the hospital's need for pajamas, they are eager to help support in any way that they can.”
Since the discovery of his relapse, Liam went through many radiation and chemotherapy treatments, spending nearly three months as an inpatient. On June 9, he received a lifesaving bone marrow transplant.
“He’s been fighting and winning since the transplant,” said Liz Lynch, Liam’s mother. “He is kicking butt and we are so proud of him!”