Boy who battled illnesses works to help others with blood drive

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A metro Detroit boy battling two life-threatening illness somewhere finds the strength to help save others. 

Rodney Burton is all smiles performing the rap song he wrote, but the Redford boy hasn't had it easy. He was born with sickle cell disease and, a few years ago, was diagnosed with Hodgkin Lymphoma. 

"It requires a lot of strength to see your child hurting, and most times you can't do anything for him. Breaks your heart," said mom, Johnai Carroll.

FOX 2 first introduced you to Rodney and his family last year when he got the chance to be Detroit's top cop for a day.

Six months later Rodney went into remission. He still wears a sweatshirt with his picture on it, that says Straight Outta Chemo.
And the positivity doesn't end there. 

For his 9th birthday, Rodney wanted to do something special. This year they are holding the first annual Rodney's Birthday Celebration and Blood Drive at the Oasis Hope Christian Church in Detroit.

"He wants to invite everyone from the hospital to have a fun day where they don't have to worry about being sick, or needles, any pokes anything," his mom said.

"I want them to say, 'Oh Rodney, that party was lit! That party was sweet!'" he says.

Rodney may be back to school playing soccer and riding his bike, but he still struggles with sickle cell disease. By partnering with the Michigan blood bank -  he also wanted to ask people to donate blood to others who may be battling the life threatening illnesses.

Everyone is welcome.

"I think it is amazing. My son is honestly my hero and inspiration," his mother says. "Just to be so small and endure so much and to have the heart that he has and the drive to encourage others. Every opportunity he gets, he lets other people know if he can go through something and God can bring him out of it and through it, they can too.

If you would like to celebrate with Rodney or donate blood, the event is Friday May 18 2 to 8 p.m. at the Oasis of Hope Christian Church on Seven Mile in Detroit.