Mystery eBay Seller Leaves BMX On 7-Year-Old Boy's Doorstep After He Beat Cancer
After beating a rare childhood cancer, John Wells’ cycling-mad son Evan and his brother Corey completed a charity bike ride. But it was what happened next that blew them away.
'September 2010 was really tough for our family. A week after my wife was diagnosed with cervical cancer, we found out our youngest son Evan, now seven, also had a rare form of the disease. Our lives were turned upside down.
'Evan was just 18 months old when we discovered a small red mark on his bottom while changing his nappy. At first we thought it was a rash, but a biopsy revealed it was much worse. It was a rhabdomyosarcoma – a rare type of tumour, which grows out of ligaments.
10 Months of Treatment
'What followed was just under a year of treatment. My wife, Jo, had an operation to remove the cancer. As her doctors knew the situation, they decided not to give her chemotherapy and instead kept an eye on her so that she'd feel well enough to look after Evan.
'Over the next 10 months, we travelled between hospitals in Swansea, Carmarthen and Cardiff – around two hours drive from our home in Llanrhystud near Aberystwyth – as Evan had operations and chemotherapy, which made him sick and weakened his immune system.
'Eventually he was taken for specialist radiotherapy at the University College Hospital in London. This radiotherapy was called Brachytherapy and Evan was the youngest child ever to receive the treatment, which involved having a special cast made around the site of the tumour – he called it his “special shorts”.
'He had to keep still so was given anesthetic twice a day but he was always happy and coped so well that the treatment has now been opened up to younger children.
'With everything that was going on, it's easy to forget how Evan's older brother Corey, now 10, was feeling. But this time was really tough for him, too as everything was centred around Evan.
'Luckily the treatment was successful and both Evan and Jo have been clear of cancer for five years.
The Charity Bike Ride
'To celebrate five years cancer free, in May 2016 Evan and Corey decided they wanted to raise money for LATCH, the Welsh children's cancer charity that helped us so much throughout Evan's treatment.
'They provided accommodation near the hospital in Cardiff where Evan was having his chemotherapy, so we could all be together. They also help out with emotional support, free car parking passes, support to siblings and so much more.
'Evan and Corey both love being outdoors. Even though Evan's treatment affected his strength and size, they're active kids and really enjoy cycling, so they decided to complete an 18-mile off-road cycle for the charity.
'The ride was a big family effort. Myself and my father-in-law cycled with them along the route from the Nant-yr-Arian trail centre just outside Aberystwyth to Machynlleth, while Jo and her mum drove the support vehicle with drinks and snacks.
'When we finished there was a big group of people cheering the boys and congratulating them. They were knackered, but so pleased they'd managed to raise over £3,000.
The Mystery eBay Seller
'That summer, Evan asked for a BMX bike for his birthday. Corey had been out on it and as their birthdays are quite close he asked for one, too. I was looking on eBay and found a bike locally that was as good as new but I missed the bidding. On the off-chance, I messaged the guy and asked him if it was still for sale.
'The reply surprised me. The seller asked, 'Are you the guys who did the charity bike ride?' It turns out he'd been following our story as we’d been featured in the local paper and had posted updates on social media.
'He said, 'I think it's really great what the boys did and I'd like to give you the bike for free.' I tried to argue and give him money but he just said, 'The bike is going to be outside your house tomorrow. Let me know where to put it.'
The whole family was blown away by this act of kindness from a stranger
'It was all a bit of a shock. I didn't tell the boys as I didn't know whether it would happen, but when they came home from school the BMX was behind the wheelie bin, just as he'd promised.
'The whole family was blown away by this act of kindness from a stranger. The boys were amazed that someone had heard about them and the bike was an added bonus – they've been out on it nearly every day since.
'Not long after, we discovered that the seller was a local postman. He'd heard about the boys from the postwoman who usually delivers to our house. One day he was covering our area and knocked on the door, so we got to thank him in person. He has children who cycle, too, and our boys have now done a few races with his son.
Looking To the Future
'Corey and Evan are still out on their bikes in all weathers and have decided they want to do something to raise money for LATCH every couple of years. We're giving everyone's wallets a break this year, but in 2018 they’re thinking of doing another bike ride and incorporating a stand-up paddleboard along the river. I imagine we'll be practising that quite a lot this summer!'