When Baton Rouge became aware of young cancer patient Trevor Sims’ dying wish to feed the hungry, it sparked a communitywide drive last year to support the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. Following Sims’ death on Oct. 17, 2013, four days after his 11th birthday, the city named a North Boulevard overpass in his honor.
Ashton Kennedy, then a senior at Central High School, was part of the drive, helping lead his school to raise $18,000 for the Food Bank effort. But, in the months that followed, he thought something more was needed.
“He was a special little boy, and I could tell that the first time I met him,” said Kennedy, 18. “I think about Trevor every single day.”
If Kennedy has his way, others will think of Sims more often.
In advance of heading to Louisiana Tech University in Ruston this fall, Kennedy has spent the past two months or so trying to raise money for a statue of Sims. Depending on its size, Kennedy said it might cost between $10,000 and $25,000, and he has already raised almost $7,500.
“Since I’m going to go off to college four hours away, I’m trying to get as much as I can done this summer,” Kennedy said.
The idea for a statue came from a video that was shown at Sims’ funeral in which the young boy laughingly spoke about having a statue made in honor of his prowess at Minecraft, a computer game. After months of thought, Kennedy decided the statue was a great idea to honor Sims’ selfless spirit.
Kennedy spoke to Mayor Kip Holden about the project, and Holden suggested he contact former LSU basketball coach Dale Brown, whose interest in philanthropic causes and extensive contacts might help Kennedy raise money.
“You talk about an impressive 18-year-old,” Brown said. “I’ve sent that to over 3,000 people, and he’s already gotten donations coming in. He’s just such a bright kid and so committed to making the world a better place to live in. What a beautiful story.”
Kennedy said a site for a statue has not been chosen. The Food Bank is aware of Kennedy’s effort, but it is not involved in raising funds for it, said Charlene Guarisco Montelaro, the Food Bank’s president of development and philanthropy.
“We’re supporting it, but we’re not actively involved in it right now,” Montelaro said. “Ashton’s so sweet and so wonderful and got so close to Trevor, he picked up on that and really wants to do this for Trevor.”
A memorial account has been set up at Chase Bank, and donations can be made at any Chase Bank nationwide.
The account name is “Trevor Sims Statue Fund” and the account cumber is 3009084707. Kennedy also is selling T-shirts to raise funds for the effort. To buy one, mail $20 to 9456 Jefferson Highway, Suite D, Baton Rouge, LA 70809.