Boy mows neighbors’ lawn for nearly 2 years as young friend battles rare cancer

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WASWORTH, Ill. — The old adage “the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence” means something different for sixth grader Ozzie Padilla.

Ozzie has been mowing both sides of the fence for two nearly two years.

“I just noticed their grass was getting long and they weren’t home a lot,” he said.

“They” are the family next door and the family of his classmate Effie Inman.

“Me and Ozzie have known each other since kindergarten,” Effie said.

So when Ozzie learned Effie was sick, diagnosed with a rare form of acute lymphoma, he did the one thing he could do to help: mow their lawn.

“You would just never expect a 10-year-old boy to consistently come out and mow the lawn,” Effie’s mother Tina Inman said. “And it’s not just a little lawn. It’s huge!”

They are two families who know a thing about what it means to be a good neighbor. Effie is not only friends with Ozzie, but also close to his younger sister with Down syndrome.

“Effie has been such a friend to her, treating her just like any regular kid,” Ozzie’s mother Martha Padilla said. “She knows when she needs help and she’s there to push.”

For nearly two years now, Ozzie has been cutting the two-plus acres between their houses every week.

“You know, I don’t think I need all this attention because it’s just me cutting the grass and doing the right thing, helping my neighbor,” Ozzie said. “It just makes me feel happy because I’m helping them.”

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