IOWA CITY, Iowa - Parker Kress was diagnosed with cancer a few years ago that led to an infection in his leg. At the age of 15, Parker made the detrimental decision to amputate his leg.
After months of treatment, Parker is now cancer free. On Monday, September 10, Parker brought hundreds of toys to kids at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital.
Even on his 17th birthday, the last person on his mind was himself.
"It's my birthday today, but I think this is more special than my birthday," said Kress.
That's because he's the one giving the gifts.
His family, friends, and even some members of the Iowa basketball team were at the hospital hauling in toys by the box.
"I have scans today and we decided to make it a little more fun," Kress informed.
But today's usual three-month check-up was different. This time, Parker reached out to patients whose beds he once filled.
"I was here for a year and I knew how boring it was," remembered Kress.
Parker bought some Lego's for his teacher's son who was ill. But, before Parker could bring them to him, he passed away.
However, he still wanted to help other patients.
"We just started this Amazon "wish list" just hoping to get a few things, and before we knew it, it blew up," said Kress.
Today isn't just Parker's birthday. It's also his three-month check-in to see if he's cancer free.
"On a day that causes so much anxiety, to have this distraction it's been great," said Kristin Dumser, Parker's mother.
His mom has been there every step of the way. And although these check-ups can be stressful, she knows one thing.
"I know if he were to relapse he would go in 100% and beat it again," said Dumser.
But for now, Parker and his friends are focused on the good.
"We all think of our birthday as a day for us," said Tyler Cook of the Iowa Men's Basketball team, "but he's using this to help out other people, so that's huge. That just speaks a lot to his character."
"It's whatever, I'm just getting older," responded Kress.
Older, but healthier and stronger.