Terminally ill Boy Scout gave life savings to church with a message: “I don’t want it to go to waste”

Kind, funny and frugal. That’s how Don and Karen Goff of Winchester, Virginia remember their late son, Kaleb.

“Any purchase he made was well thought-out and researched,” the Goffs told The…

Kind, funny and frugal. That’s how Don and Karen Goff of Winchester, Virginia remember their late son, Kaleb.

“Any purchase he made was well thoughtout and researched, the Goffs told The Lion in an email.

In addition to saving up money he received as gifts, the 15-year-old Star Wars enthusiast was already a budding entrepreneur, starting his own business called “Kaleb’s Galaxy Treats.”

The James Wood High School Sophomore made and sold seasonal Rice Krispie treats at Halloween and Christmas, in festive shapes and flavors with the help of his mother.

The slogan on this business card read the treats were “out of this world.” 

“He was always thinking about new businesses he could start and the charities he planned to support with some of the proceeds,” said the Goffs.

Then, just after Christmas in 2020, Kaleb was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a cancer in the blood and bone marrow. He spent 20 months battling the disease, 15 of which were spent in the hospital. During that time, Kaleb and his mom spent many Sundays snuggled up in his hospital bed remotely watching church services at Cornerstone Chapel in nearby Leesburg.

“He admired all the outreach the church was doing, and for Pastor Gary speaking on hard topics,” she said.

After putting up a brave fight against the disease and undergoing 11 rounds of chemotherapy, Kaleb went into heart failure and passed away at home Sept. 7 with his family by his side.

“Kaleb demonstrated so much dignity and grace throughout all his treatments he endured,” said the Goffs. “He endured. He was a true fighter.”

Young Kaleb also was a good planner who gave much thought to how his life savings should be spent after he was gone. After careful consideration, he told his family he wanted the money to be used for Cornerstone’s U.S. Outreach fund because “there are so many people in our country in need.”

Then, with his father at his bedside in the pediatric intensive care unit, he handwrote a letter to Pastor Gary Hamrick asking him to make sure the money got to someone who really needed it.  

The letter reads in part: 

“On June 16, my doctors said my body is so weak, there is a very small chance that this will work. With all my money $844 dollars. I don’t want it to go to waste. I want to give it to someone that can make a difference. I really wrote this letter to ask you to pray for me please and all of the sick kids all over the world …”

With his rapid decline in health and a need for constant care, his parents were unable to give Pastor Hamrick Kaleb’s letter until after he died. Hamrick read Kaleb’s letter aloud to the congregation during recent Sunday services.

“It really touched the congregation,” said Pam Pryor, Cornerstone Chapel’s executive director of communications. “Several attendees spontaneously sent in checks of the same amount.”

In honor of Kaleb’s request, the church decided to use the money toward ongoing relief efforts in Fort Myers, Florida, following Hurricane Ian, the deadliest hurricane to strike the state since 1935.

Touched by Kaleb’s generosity, the church multiplied his original $844 donation by 10 times, to $8,440, to help a single mother of two whose home was destroyed by Ian.

They did the same for another family there with a disabled child that has been living on a school bus since losing their home in the storm.

“He showed great maturity, in that he wanted his money ‘not to go to waste.’ Wow, what wisdom at barely 15,” Pryor said. “He already knew that money is just a tool to be used by God and multiplied.”

“We don’t think Kaleb ever imagined that anyone would learn about his donation, but we do think he would be proud his generosity inspired others. Kaleb had a beautiful smile, and we know he would be smiling from all that has transpired from his donation, said his parents.