BELOIT — West Branch student Gavin Clay, 13, has been recognized as a Disney Magic Maker for his dedication to supporting St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
Gavin began his campaign to raise funds for St. Baldrick’s Foundation three years ago when his Louisville classmate DJ Patterson was diagnosed with Ewig’s Sarcoma.
Over the past three years, Gavin has headed fundraising campaigns, including shaving his head each year, and raised more than $32,000 through his St. Baldrick’s team, the Constitution Cancer Crushers. Funds are used by the organization to research treatments and cures for children with cancer.
Several individuals who have seen Gavin work his magic nominited the teen for the Disney Magic Makers recognition. Disney will award the title to just 50 individuals who create or share magic through good deeds — large and small, Disney says — who raise spirits, inspire communities and connect people to one another.
Why Magic Makers? The Disney Magic Makers website explains: “Disney wants to shine a light on all of the countless acts of goodwill taking place in communities across the country, and celebrate the individuals who make everyday magic a reality.”
Gavin presented a fundraising idea to the West Branch Middle School student council, which led the group to host its first Glow Dance in March 2020, raising more than $5,000 for St. Baldrick’s Foundation.
Gavin’s team got creative with this year’s shaving event, shaving their heads during the Constitution Parade in September. The Constitution Cancer Crushers float sported No. 89 in honor of DJ, who passed away after a 14-month battle with Ewig Sarcoma.
Gavin’s contributions to St. Baldrick’s have been substantial, but he has even bigger plans, including the creation of a district team with his peers at West Branch Local Schools.
“Krista [Gavin’s mother] and I are so proud of the passion Gavin has for helping others,” says Corey Clay, Gavin’s father. “We feel privileged to assist him on his journey to raise awareness and funds for children going through pediatric cancer. His compassion reaches far beyond just our small corner of Northeast Ohio and inspires many to join him on this fight for more — more research, more treatment and more time for these kids. He embodies Disney Magic within our community.”