Young boy comes to the aid of cash-strapped family - Dallas News |

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Young boy comes to the aid of cash-strapped family

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Aidan Hornaday may only be 12, but he's got his sights set on big things. The Woodstock boy is trying to rally kids all over the country to make a difference.

The youngster has created "Aidan Cares." He wants to prove to kids and grownups that everybody has something they can use to help other people. He found his something when he picked up his big brother's harmonica four years ago.

"I see this dusty old thing on the shelf, I go, 'alright, I'll take your harmonica,'" said Hornaday.

He wasn't even sure how to play it.

"I thought there was a button on it, so there I am looking for it.  And they told me I have to blow in it," Hornaday said.

The next night, waiting for his mom at C & S Seafood Oyster Bar in Vinings, Aidan took off his cap and started playing.

"And was blowing harmonica, one note, then looking at it, then blowing another. And then, out of nowhere, I got $80.  And I thought, 'Wow, 80 bucks for taking my hat off,'" said Hornaday.

A 7-year-old philanthropist was born.

"That night I came home and I said, 'You know what, I'm going to donate this $80 to African orphans to help fight intestinal parasites,'" said Hornaday.
Soon people were asking him to play at their events and inviting him to speak to them.   And the more he played, the more donations rolled in. In four years, he's raised more than $60,000.
"It's one of the greatest, rewarding things ever.  And you get more from it, when you help.  Blessings just come and it's amazing," he said.

In June, Aidan met Brayden Martin, who is equally crazy about music.  After reading about him on Facebook, Aidan went to Children's Healthcare of Atlanta to meet him.     

"And Brayden is actually one of the most touching people I've ever met.  He's a 6-year-old boy," said Aidan.      

Brayden is battling brain cancer for the second time.  Right now, an experimental treatment seems to be holding it at bay. But he spends most of his life in a wheelchair.

"It's 24-hour care.  He takes about 13 medications a day. He's on three different chemos," said Maranda Martin, Brayden's mother.  

As Aidan and Brayden talked, he learned that Brayden's mom, single with two kids, had no transportation.

"I had to borrow a car every time we went to clinic. I haven't been able to get him to therapy," she said.

So, Aidan got to work, playing and telling anyone who'd listen about the boy whose family really needed a car.  He convinced the owner of the Carl Black dealership in Kennesaw to give the family a brand new SUV.

"It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulders, like I could breathe again," said Maranda. "Aidan is going to be -- he's already an amazing person -- but I can't imagine what he's going to do for the rest of his life."

Right now, Aidan just wants to turn the music into a movement to convince kids to grow up, giving back.
"And it can be anything.  It can be earth, animals or people.  No matter what it is. To just find a need, and help it," Aidan said.

Now that Brayden's mother has a vehicle, Aidan Cares is helping her with her car insurance and gas.

To read more about Aidan Hornaday's mission to motivate kids, go to

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