Tear-Jerker of the Day: Six-Year-Old Cancer Patient Fights to Save Penguins

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JEAN-CHRISTOPHE VERHAEGEN/AFP/Getty Images

A picture taken on April 21, 2011 at a zoo in Amneville shows a Humboldt Penguin.

A first grader fights for both his life and those of penguins.

(More on TIME.com: Are Penguins Gay? No, They’re Just Lonely)

Six-year-old Anghelos Kouvaras was diagnosed with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, following the discovery of a tumor in his abdomen last September. Surely in need of distraction, he put his spare  time to its best use. Reading about animals slowly developed into a peculiar passion for penguins. The fact that also their lives was endangered struck a chord with the kid from Port Washington, Long Island.

Anghelos’s mother recalls this moving response, when she asked her son what he wished for:

“He didn’t want an Xbox or a PlayStation. He said he wanted to save penguins. ‘What are we going to do without animals?’ he asked. If they die, we will all die.”

Anghelos’ determination won the affection and the attention of the people around him, so much so that they were able to raise $3000 in donations for the 5K run organized by the Wildlife Conservation Society. Anghelos finished his chemotherapy just weeks before the race, and he joined the nearly 80 members of the aptly named “Team Anghelos” that participated in the race held on April 30 at the Bronx Zoo.

What did you do when you were six? (via Tree Hugger)

(More on TIME.comPenguins Rejoice! Google Street View Arrives In Antarctica)

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