Brandon Brauns was a kid who was always thinking of others.
Diagnosed with a brain tumor at the age of 4, Brandon appreciated the people who helped him and his parents, Jeff and Kris, during his treatment.
One day Brandon said to his mother, “We should help other kids who are sick.”
So Brandon and his parents started a charity called Friends Helping Friends to raise money for children battling illnesses and their families. The charity started out small with Brandon operating a lemonade stand and then evolved into holding different events, such as golf tournaments and soccer clinics.
Brandon lost his battle to cancer four years ago at the age of 11, but his legacy of caring and compassion for others lives on in Brandon’s Goal Foundation, the new name for the Friends Helping Friends charity.
Through the years, Brandon’s Goal had held various events to raise money. A new source of support for the Foundation was realized last May when Kris opened Finding Treasures, a non-profit thrift store.
“Brandon loved to go to Value Village and thrift store shopping,” Kris said.
The proceeds from sales go to support Brandon’s Goal, which in turn supports various children’s charities, such as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Brandon’s Goal also provides direct financial support for families with children who are being treated for cancer.
“We’re there to help the families in need with their child,” Kris said.
In mid-July, Finding Treasures reopened not far from its original location in its current storefront at 19820 40th Ave. W. #118 in Lynnwood. Finding Treasures quickly outgrew the space in its initial location. The new location is 10,000 square feet, more than triple the size of the former location.
“Because Brandon’s Goal has been around for a long time, we had a lot of support before we opened,” Kris said. “So that really helped. We received donations and had customers.”
In recognition that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Finding Treasures is having a sidewalk sale this Saturday through Monday.
The store was closed for a while during the move and accumulated about 10 storage units of items, which will be for sale in the parking lot. Kris is hoping the sidewalk sale will help the Foundation reach its goal of $10,000 for September.
The store has become a place for people who have been helped by Brandon’s Goal to give back. Families have come in and volunteered in the store.
“Children, who are now thankfully in remission, come in with their family on the weekend and volunteer and spend time,” Kris said. “That’s really motivating to the staff. It gives them a chance to see what all of this work goes into.”
The store also has been instrumental in helping Kris to come to terms with the death of Brandon.
“Being able to talk about him every day makes me very happy,” she said. “I’m really proud that this store is here because of him. If Brandon wasn’t the kid he was, this store wouldn’t be here.”
Of course, there are some days that are tough. Recently, a mother stopped by the store and told Kris her child passed away 20 years ago and that particular day was especially difficult for her.
“The people who have walked through the door that we’ve been able to help, it feels really good,” Kris said. “I feel much more at peace in my heart that Brandon had a shorter life so all of us could carry on what was important to him.”
“Every day I think about him in a positive way and in a sad way. Here it’s always in a positive way.”
Finding Treasures’ Sidewalk Sale runs Saturday through Monday. Hours at 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. The store is located at 19820 40th Ave. W. #118. For more information about Brandon’s Goal Foundation, see www.brandonsgoalfoundation.org.
– By David Pan