Local boy helps raise money for resident’s heart transplant

First-grader Daniel Claypoole, 6, fills cups with Kool-Aid to raise money for Jim Whary, of Clovis, who is waiting for a heart transplant. (Staff photo: Sharna Johnson)

By Sharna Johnson: CNJ staff writer

His white T-shirt covered in pink splotches and splashes, his lips outlined with cherry red stains, a Clovis first-grader spent most of his Saturday selling Kool-Aid to help a local resident.

Seated under cover of an umbrella at a little stand situated by the front door of Wal-Mart, Daniel Claypoole, 6, alternated between filling cups and watching people pass by. His mother, Brandi Barrett, said he concocted the plan to raise money after he overheard her discussing the plight of local resident Jim Whary, who is waiting for a heart transplant.

“He wanted to donate his allowance,” his mother said, explaining he decided to set up his Kool-Aid stand to raise more money for Whary.

“I thought I’d help him,” Daniel said in a matter of fact way. “God wants us to help others.”

The youngster drew a heart on his T-shirt, writing Whary’s name across the top. He helped his grandmother make Kool-Aid and treats, and made signs to decorate the stand with a little help from family.

Local businesses made donations and provided supplies, Barrett said. McDonald’s restaurant provided cups and some of the beverages. Farmers Electric, Sonic, Wal-Mart and Twin Cronies also pitched in.

After more than three hours, Daniel had raised an estimated $150 to help Whary and his family with incidental expenses as he goes through the transplant process.

Daniel and Whary met for the first time earlier this week, when the boy presented him with a heart-shaped balloon and talked with him about the plan.

Placed on the transplant list about two weeks ago, Whary is ninth in line to receive a heart. The transplant will be done in Tucson, Ariz., at the University of Arizona Medical Center. The estimated wait for a heart to become available is six to eight months, according to Whary’s wife, Cindy Whary.

Whary with his wife stopped by the Kool-Aid stand to thank Daniel. He said he was in awe of the child’s efforts and very thankful. “I think it’s just fantastic. He’s an awesome little dude,” he said.

“When I get my new heart, I hope it is as good as the one he’s got.”