LINCOLN PARK — Last Thanksgiving, Ege Halac, 11, was visiting the doctor with his parents when he noticed sick children in the waiting room without their families.
"I thought, 'Well, today's Thanksgiving and I don't see any of their families with them.' I felt quite bad," said Ege, a fifth-grader at British International School of Chicago, 814 W. Eastman St.
That's when Ege came up with his charity organization "Read 2 Raise," which combines his love of reading with raising money for sick children and their families, specifically kids with childhood cancer.
The way it works: For every book Ege reads, his parents make a donation to his organization, which goes toward childhood cancer research, support for families and books for sick kids, among other things. During Christmas break, Ege encouraged his classmates to join in.
So far, Ege has raised about $2,200 through three separate fundraising events, including one at the University of Chicago. He's currently planning a fourth that he hopes to host in Oz Park in the summer.
"People see TV ads and they ignore it and switch to the next channel. I actually paid attention to this," Ege said. "I thought it was be nice to help other children who are not as fortunate as us."
Ege is an only child who has lived with his mother, a pediatrician, and his father, an engineer, in Lincoln Park for four years. Before moving to Chicago 20 years ago, his parents lived in Turkey.
Ege estimates he's read at least 200 books in his lifetime. His favorite genre? Fantasy, including the "Harry Potter" series.
"If you ask most kids in my class, they'd say break and lunch" are their favorite subjects, he said. "I enjoy math a lot. I love reading, which we do for 30 minutes a day."
Moving forward, Ege wants "Read 2 Raise" to become a nonprofit, improve his website and, most importantly, focus on raising even more money.
"I'm just in my starting process," Ege said.
When asked what he wants to do when he grows up, Ege speaks with a maturity beyond his years.
"I'm a bit too young to decide yet," he said smiling. "But I've put some thought into it. I was thinking electronics are pretty cool. Not game stuff. I want to own a company like Microsoft or Apple, a company along those lines."
He also wants to create a device that doesn't produce radiation to protect kids with childhood cancer.
To donate, or get involved, email Ege at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more neighborhood news, listen to DNAinfo Radio here: