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Eight-Year-Old Boys Sells Pokémon Cards To Raise Money To Save His Sick Puppy

Photo: Kimberly Woodruff
Eight-Year-Old Bryson Kliemann Sold His Pokémon Cards To Raise Money To Save His Sick Puppy

Bryson Kliemann has been collecting Pokémon cards for as long as he can remember; they are his prized possessions.

But the eight-year-old from Lebanon, Virginia decided they were worth selling to save his puppy’s life. 

After years of wanting a puppy, and even crying when he had to leave an animal shelter after a visit, Bryson finally got his wish. The family adopted Bruce, a now 4-month-old black Lab mix, from a friend whose dog recently had puppies.

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Bryson and Bruce became best friends pretty quickly. “They love each other,” said Kimberly Woodruff, Bryson’s mom.

But not long after adopting Bruce, the family realized that his normally playful demeanor had disappeared. Bruce wouldn’t come out of his cage and even started to lose weight.

After taking Bruce to the vet, the family learned that he had parvo, a highly contagious virus in dogs that can be deadly if not treated quickly. 

The treatment for parvo can be costly. Veterinarians told Woodruff that the first few days of Bruce’s treatment would cost around $700, and there was the potential it might take even longer.

Unfortunately, this was an expense that the family couldn’t afford at the time. 

After Woodruff explained the situation to young Bryson, he decided that he would take matters into his own hands to save his best friend. This was when he decided to set up a stand to sell his beloved Pokémon cards to raise money for his puppy.

Bryson brought out his numerous binders and lock boxes stocked with Pokémon cards to sell. 

At first, Woodruff discouraged his plan. “We’ll figure this out,” she said. “Don’t worry about it.” But Bryson wouldn’t take no for an answer.

The next day, Woodruff received a photo from her husband of Bryson at a table in the front yard with a wooden sign that read: “Pokémon 4 Sale.” 

Bryson was selling his trading cards for $5 and $10 to raise money.

“I know everybody likes Pokémon cards, so I just decided to sell them,” said Bryson. Some neighbors showed up to buy cards, but eventually people began showing up just to donate money to Bryson’s cause. 

Woodruff shared the photo of Bryson on Facebook and people began to flock to his stand to show their support. Some brought Pokémon cards from their own collections to donate, while others brought dog supplies. 

As news of Bryson’s stand took off, people from outside of the area began wanting to donate money. Woodruff decided to set up a GoFundMe page to help her son save Bruce.

People were so moved by Bryson’s efforts that the boy was able to raise more than $27,000, well over the $700 goal!

Businesses heard of Bryson and Bruce’s story and decided to help out as well.

Brenton Moseley, owner of Lonesome Pine Brewing Company, hosted a three-day event named “Brews for Bruce.” A portion of the proceeds from the event were donated to Bruce’s treatment and a donation box was also set up at the bar. The event alone raised $450.

As the heartwarming story made its way across the country, it reached an employee at the Pokémon Co. in Seattle, Washington, who sent him a package filled with rare Pokémon cards.

The package also contained a note which read, “Hey Bryson, we were so inspired by your story about selling your cards for your dog’s recovery, these are some cards to help you replace the ones you had to sell.”

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After raising much more than was needed to cover Bruce’s treatment, Woodruff and Bryson decided to donate the remainder of the money to help other sick pets in Southwest Virginia.

They contacted local animal hospitals and shelters and asked to help other families who could not afford medical bills for their pets. So far, the donations have helped at least three other families save their pets.

Would the Pokémon cards alone have raised enough money for Bruce?

While your average pack of Pokémon cards at your local retailer are only about $4, some Pokémon cards have a hefty price tag attached to them.

Pokémon cards have many different characteristics that could determine their value. Like with most trading cards, the condition of the card will impact its worth. The rarity of the card also plays a huge role in its value. 

Several other features of the card can make its value skyrocket, including the year of the card, the card number, the edition of the card, and the absence of a shadow around the Pokémon on the card.

The most expensive Pokémon card was sold in 2019 for a whopping $224,250. And other rare cards also sell for similarly high prices, ranging from $8,000 to $100,000. 

This means that Bryson may have been able to raise enough money selling his trading cards alone, but thankfully, he didn’t have to part with too many. And it's all thanks to his neighbors and community helping him.

Could selling trading cards have helped Bryson in more ways than just fundraising?

After wanting a pet desperately for many years, learning his puppy’s diagnosis could not have been easy for young Bryson. This may have led Bryson to have more than one motivation for raising money.

The eight-year-old could have been processing his feelings of the potential loss through doing whatever he could to help the situation. 

According to Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Gestalt Therapist, Christine Vargo, Bryson’s story shows exactly “what he values in his young life” along with his desire for control in a tough situation. 

“If his puppy has a higher value for him than his Pokémon cards, the choice to sell the cards to raise the money to save his puppy is a no brainer,” said Vargo. “He is able to have a sense of control over a hard experience by doing something, even if it means giving up a prized possession.”

Bryson wanted to do everything he could to help his best friend, and selling his beloved Pokémon cards was his way of expressing that Bruce is now more important to him than his collection.

This desire to help as much as possible could have helped Bryson, even if Bruce had not recovered from his illness. 

“If his puppy didn’t survive, he could move through his grief knowing he did everything he could for his family,” added Vargo. 

Thankfully, the puppy is on the mend and is expected to make a full recovery. But Bryson’s generosity and selflessness will not be forgotten by Pokémon lovers or animal lovers across the country.

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Livvie Brault is a writer who covers self-love, entertaiment and news and relationships.