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7-year-old who finished chemotherapy gets surprise of a lifetime to go to Philadelphia Phillies' Opening Day

Opening Day 2024 has Phillies fans ready for redemption after last season's unfinished business
Opening Day 2024 has Phillies fans ready for redemption after last season's unfinished business 02:18

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- How strong is the power of kindness? You can ask 7-year-old Sam, a Philadelphia Phillies fan, who scored Opening Day tickets and an unforgettable experience from a stranger in an act of complete and utter kindness. 

Zachery Dereniowski, or @mdmotivator as his 5.4 million Instagram followers know him, made it his life's mission three years ago to give back to the world through small acts of kindness at a time when the world needed it most.

Dereniowski was in medical school during the pandemic at the University of Sydney when he began making inspiring social media videos. Since then, Dereniowski has developed a specific niche for himself where he surprises deserving strangers with monetary donations, sports game tickets and support they just may need. In August 2021, he withdrew from medical school to pursue his career of catalyzing kindness full-time. 

Flash forward to just last week, Dereniowski posted on his Instagram story that he was going to be in the Philadelphia area and asked his followers if there was anyone he should surprise while he was in town. Lauren, Sam's mother, reached out to Dereniowski and told her about her 7-year-old son who just had a brain cancer surgery in January and was dying to go to Opening Day. 

Dereniowski and Lauren staged a surprise for Samuel while he was holding a lemonade stand to raise money for tickets to the Phillies home opener one afternoon last week. 

In the video above, you see the two meet for the first time over a cup of lemonade. Samuel shares that he had surgery in January and that he's all done with chemotherapy. Dereniowski then surprises the 7-year-old with the gift of his young lifetime, $1,000 cash and tickets to Opening Day on behalf of the MLB. 

Dereniowski, Sam, Lauren, Samuel's father and sister all attended Opening Day where they were met with many surprises courtesy of the Phillies organization, including time on the field and a meet-and-greet with first base coach Paco Figueroa, pitcher Spencer Turnbull, the Phanatic and more!

Dereniowski said he was blown away by how strong Samuel was and that seeing the 7-year-old's dream come true in person was amazing and intangible. Through his work, he hopes to create a real-world ripple effect of kindness one video at a time. 

So while he didn't end up getting his MD, through the positive responses and social media engagement, you could say Dereniowski did become a sort of doctor of kindness.

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