Man steals donation jar meant to help 2-year-old with cancer

FOX 46 is helping get results for a local family after a thief stole a donation jar from a Rock Hill restaurant.

The money was being put toward helping Austin Blackwell, a two-year-old boy battling liver cancer.

"He inspires a lot of people by being happy all the time," said Blackwell's dad, Michael Blackwell.

Two-year-old Austin is playful, energetic and upbeat.

"The toughest part is having to see him go through this, honestly," said Blackwell.

In November, Austin was diagnosed with liver cancer.

"First, it was unbelievable-- he was the healthiest kid you could meet," said Blackwell.

Austin undergoes chemotherapy treatments weekly and is working on getting his name put on a transplant list to receive a new liver. Through it all, he maintains a sunny disposition.

"You know, the nurses come to see him, even though he's not their patient that day," said Blackwell.  "They just want to see him smile."

Their effort to get him well includes donations.

"The funds are being raised to help pay the bills while we are going through this," said Blackwell.  "This insurance is covering it, but because we have three kids, one of us is with him, one is here, so there isn't a way to work even a part-time job."

The family placed a donation jar at The Little Cafe and the restaurant caught a man running out with it Wednesday.

"He picked up the jar, walked out the door and just walked out the door," said Sandra Helms, who works at The Little Cafe.

"Our feeling is maybe he needed it," said Blackwell. "So we can't look at the negatives on that.  We are going to focus on the positives to keep him getting better."

Staff at the restaurant estimate the man took off with $60-$80.

"It's amazing to me. He has no conscience, no remorse," said Helms. "You aren't much of a man if you steal from a baby."

But the Blackwell family isn't letting this unfortunate incident take away from Austin's fight.

"Being mad doesn't help anything," said Blackwell.  "If you have mad energy, you're gonna be mad and feel down and I don't have enough energy to waste on being mad. I use it to be supportive and happy and take care of him."

"I just hope he gets caught," said Helms. "I really do."

Rock Hill Police have no leads so far.

When FOX 46 was at the restaurant Tuesday, a customer found out why we were there and donated $100.

You can help Austin and his family by donating to his GoFundMe page. You can also follow his journey on Facebook here.