At just seven years old, King Singh is serving as a beacon of hope and strength for his Queens community and the surrounding New York area. When he was two, King was diagnosed with both the rare blood disease G6PD deficiency as well as leukemia, and spent the following three and a half years in treatment. While going through chemotherapy, he began handing out his toys to other children in the hospital to see them smile.
To honor the perseverance and care for others he showed during this time, King and his parents started the King Fights Cancer Foundation in 2018. The nonprofit serves to both support families affected by a life-threatening illness as well as inspire others to do good. King Fights Cancer holds toy drives year round to donate to kids being treated in the hospital, donated gift cards to families in need around the holidays, and is beginning to raise money to help provide financial assistance to families with children in the hospital. Not content to stop there, King also participates in community clean ups and has partnered with the New York Blood Center to help raise awareness for blood drives. At his last blood drive in March, he helped collect 277 pints to blood, equating to saving 830 lives.
Points of Light interviewed King along with his parents, Michael and Shameeza Singh.
How did the King Fights Cancer Foundation get its start?
Michael: The foundation was started in honor of King because of all the kind acts he did. The mission of the foundation is to help families who are currently going through any life-threatening illness such as cancer. King is a rare child, meaning he also has a rare disease and cancer, which is extremely rare. The foundation was started in honor to help both rare disease warriors and children who are fighting cancer. Our main mission is to help with bills and milestone gifts and to basically make the journey a little bit easier, because we’re a cancer family and who knows better what a family that is fighting cancer needs than a family that fought cancer?
What does the King Fights Cancer Foundation do?
Michael: Mainly King does toy drives. We currently have two toy bins out at different locations. Throughout the year, King collects toys and gives them to the hospital and sometimes even in person. If he visits a local hospital for his appointment and he sees kids in the waiting room, he always brings toys to give out. It started off as a kindness act. When children go in for blood transfusions or any type of medical procedures that are very invasive, because no one really wants to get a needle in the spine or chest, they usually give the kids a choice to pick a toy from the treasure chest as an incentive for doing those things. Countless times, King has given away his toys after earning them. King says it makes him happy to make others smile. We support him and do the toy drives at least four or five times a year. … He partnered with the Queens Borough President to collect toys year round to help fulfill that.
Not only does he collect toys and help give back to the hospitals and children, he also cleans his community. He gives back with the New York Blood Center. We partner with them and ask for blood donations. Because his story is so impactful and I would say it’s uncommon, a lot of people who hear his story and how he persevered donate blood.
What inspires you to help out in so many ways?
King: I like seeing others smile. I love to help other kids. I want to see smiles on their faces.
How do you support the blood drives?
Michael: Basically just going to the New York Blood Center, showing up to different blood drives in the city, all throughout the different boroughs. He shows up, thanks donors, inspires them, shares his message and his story. He goes out there with his brother and sister and he tells everyone he’s a cancer survivor and he would not be alive if it wasn’t for blood transfusions. He’s always out at the blood transfusion centers inspiring and recruiting new members. People who are out there who wouldn’t even think about donating, he pulls them in.
How did you start cleaning your community?
Michael: The reason why King does that is because he’s immunocompromised so he can’t play when it’s crowded during the day. We usually go in the afternoon and it’s very messy. People don’t use the garbage cans. King partnered with a council member for a toy drive and he brought it up to the council member that he would like to help a foundation that cleans the community and parks, and they partnered him up with Southeast Queens Clean Up crew. Usually once a week or every other week, King goes out there for at least two to three hours. He has his brother and sister picking up garbage on the side of highways, on the main streets. … He’s not afraid to get down and dirty at the tender age of seven.
What is it like being able to clean up your community alongside your family?
King: I like helping cleaning up with my family. I want to keep the park clean and safe for other kids to go play. There’s a lot of broken bottles on the ground, and when the kids walk or fall down, they can cut their heads or their knee.
What’s been the most rewarding part of your work?
King: Giving out the toys. I like seeing smiles on other kids’ faces.
Do you think it’s important for others to give back?
King: Yes. That’s why I try to lead by example.
What do you want people to learn from your story?
King: You can do anything. Never give up and stay positive.
What can people do to help out?
Shareeza: I think if people are able to monetarily donate, that of course would be helpful, but I know a lot of people aren’t able to. They can go out and volunteer their time, or donate their time to do something special for someone or make someone feel special. It’s not always about money. It’s about time and sharing and caring.
Michael: King always says if you can’t donate money, please donate your blood. I found that so amazing because it’s selfless, if you’re able to and don’t have a medical ailment that prevents you from donating blood. One pound of blood can save three lives. … Right now we’re sharing with everyone if you choose King’s charity while you’re shopping on Amazon, that’s a free way of helping his foundation just by clicking his charity on your Amazon Smiles list. There’s many different ways people can help, even just sharing about his foundation and sharing his name. If others out there are good at grant writing, we do need help with that. … And just do random acts of kindness in honor of King. King is willing to do anything to help the world.
Do you want to make a difference in your community like King? Find local volunteer opportunities.