Gavin Burns admits life has been hard since a devastating lawnmower accident at his home in 2018. He lost his foot in that accident, and nearly lost his life. Since then, he's had multiple surgeries and now walks using a prothesis. The accident didn't just take a physical toll, it's taken an emotional toll as well.
"I've been getting made fun of a lot and stuff," said the 14-year-old, an 8th grade student in Lewiston-Porter Central Schools.
Gavin's parents, Jason and Jackie, say they wish other parents would know how much the students are hurting their son.
"What he goes through at school is very sad," said Jackie. "I don't think these kids realize what they're saying and how much it's hurting him. There are days when he comes home and he just wants to cry. It's the saddest thing I've seen."
Lew-Port 7th grader Makenna Quarantillo saw it, too.
"I'm the kind of person, if someone's saying something bad about someone, I'll go to that person and tell them to stop because it's not OK. I'm not someone who's going to stand back and watch," said Makenna.
Makenna barely knew Gavin last month when she witnessed the bullying, but she talked to her mother about wanting to help him.
"Makenna came to me and said, 'There are some things going on at school,' and she was concerned," said Makenna's mother Kristy Quarantillo. "She said, 'Can I use my voice? Can I do something?"
So Makenna decided to hold a concert last month in Gavin's honor. By selling tickets for $10 each, she raised $1,000 for Limbs for Life, a charity that provides prosthetics for people who need them and might not be able to afford them.
"I'm extremely proud, extremely proud of the young lady she's become. The thoughtfulness, the heart she has, I'm so proud," so Kristy.
The Burns family was overwhelmed by the kind gesture and was brought to tears during Makenna's concert.
"I couldn't believe the heart. There are some of these kids that are cruel, and there are these like Makenna that care."
The Burns family hopes other parents will teach their children that words do hurt, and that bullying cannot be tolerated.
Makenna hopes her concert inspired other kids to be more kind and compassionate. It certainly let Gavin know he has someone who will stand by his side.
"He's one of my closest friends now," said Makenna.
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