Boy with Autism Brings Joy in the Sweetest Way to his Little Brother, Who's Fighting for his Life

Boy with Autism Brings Joy in the Sweetest Way to his Little Brother, Who's Fighting for his Life
Posted at 1:22 PM, Apr 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-04 13:22:00-04

A 10-year-old boy with fiery-red hair hunches over a small table tilted from the uneven grass surface. A stack of papers scatter the tabletop with a cardstock poster hanging over the side that reads, "Picture for sale $1. Designed by Haden."

With pencil in hand, the boy is shadowed by a smaller, sickly, 7-year-old boy wearing a face mask. A pedestrian passes, hands the boys a dollar, takes a paper from the table and continues on his way.

Over the past three months, red haired Haden Davis has established a drawing studio in his front yard in Lincolnton, North Carolina to create and sell artwork. At one dollar a piece, everything Haden earns goes straight to making his younger, gravely ill brother happy.

Max Davis, Haden's younger brother, suffers from a rare nerve and tumor disorder. At 9 months, genetic testing showed evidence that Max had neurofibromatosis - a genetic disorder that has caused tumors to painfully form on Max's brain and nervous system. Now at age 7, life increasingly becomes uncomfortable with his condition.

Haden spends hours drawing and coloring in his front yard. He made a sign for his table and delivered flyers to the neighbors saying, "Whatever money I make, I'm going shopping for Max."

"I'm just doing it to make my little brother happy and to make sure he doesn't give up," Haden told PEOPLE.

When Haden learned how sick Max was, he moved his mattress into Max's room so they could be together all the time. All of his hard-earned cash buys toys and treats to enjoy with his younger brother – mostly Legos.

"They're inseparable now," said Cynthia Davis, the boys' mother. "Haden's idea is to just give him more and more and just make every moment the best it could possibly be."

"[Max] would prefer to stay comfortable in a bed and it's very important to all of us, especially Haden, that we give Max a reason to want to fight," Cynthia said. "Haden's very good about giving [Max] a reason to be excited and one thing Max loves to do is go shopping."

The boy's shopping trips with Haden's hard-earned money are done when the stores are nearly empty. Max must wear a mask in public to prevent his medical condition from worsening.

Haden's family admires the love and devotion he has for his little brother. She said art is therapeutic for Haden's autism. Not having to really think about what he's doing, Haden uses drawing as a coping mechanism for his autism.

Doing good deeds is second nature to the redheaded 10-year-old. He often volunteers at a local nursing home, delivers meals on wheels and pays for part of other's meals in the drive-thru or at a restaurant. He is even growing his vibrant hair to donate for cancer research.

Haden's ability to overcome his challenges and aid others with their own challenges is inspiring to all those around him. His mother hopes his kindness will inspire others.

"He makes me proud. Very, very proud," Cynthia said. "It makes me excited that that's the next generation that's taking over our country."

But for Haden, his actions are simple.

"I just want [Max] to be happy. If he's happy, I'm happy," Haden said.