01/03/2014 01:05 pm ET Updated Jan 23, 2014

Anonymous Veteran Gives Bronze Star To Boy Battling Brain Tumor, Urges Him To Continue To Fight

Three-year-old Bennett Nester and U.S. veterans have one important similarity: They're fighters.

Bennett has been battling a brain tumor since December 2011, according to KTRK. But the little boy from Houston, Texas, won't surrender -- instead, he's taking the opposite approach and, with his family, focusing on helping other kids with similar conditions.

His mother, Brande Nester, formed "Bennett's Bears," through which they collected stuffed animals to deliver to children's hospitals. Last year, 250 bears were donated. This year, that number skyrocketed to 900.

When an anonymous Vietnam veteran found out about Bennett's determination and generosity, he decided to reward the 3-year-old with his Bronze Star. He told Bennett he could have the military award if he promised to continue to fight and to pass the medal on to a new hero when he wins his own battle.

"He felt like Bennett was just as big a hero as he was, which is amazing," Bennett's mother told KTRK. "He's done so much for our country. I can't believe he would want to do something like that for my son."

Last June, a man in Arizona bought a $65,000 Batmobile replica and used it to make local kids with serious illnesses feel like superheroes for a day. More recently, singer Sara Bareilles invited a 4-year-old battling leukemia to perform her song "Brave" on stage in Atlanta, Ga.




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