Girl Delivers Holiday Spirit to Kids in NC Hospitals
Sometimes, it takes a 6-year-old to see pain and move grown-ups to act. Five years ago, when Katie Greene was out shopping with her father, she had a thought: If she could give the toys she saw in the store to sick children, they'd feel better and could have a happy Christmas.
Moved by the idea, Katie, then age 6, and her parents started Katie's Kidz, an organization that donates presents to children who are hospitalized. In its first year, Katie's Kidz raised $162; in 2011, it collected $22,345. This December, the organization delivered 21 boxes filled with presents that included iPods, Amazon Kindles, art and craft sets and toy cars to Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center, in Durham.
"Katie's Kidz donates things that teen patients and even parents don't normally get," said Molly Bain, a certified child life specialist with Duke Children's. This year's "huge" donation allowed Duke Children's hospital to make the holiday season just as exciting and magical for the children in the hospital as it would be at home, Bain said.
For Katie, who has been dubbed "Katie Claus," giving is the joy. "What I love most about giving toys and gifts to the children in the hospitals is knowing that I've helped someone in my heart and that I make a difference," she said.
This year, Katie's Kidz extended its donations to include toiletries for parents whose children arrive for emergency care and who have to stay at the hospital unexpectedly. The organization is now active in 11 hospitals and has expanded into South Carolina. Its fund-raising methods are not extraordinary; it collects donations year-round through hand-written letter fund-raising campaigns, public speaking events and raffles.
Katie has spoken before church congregations, civic and school groups, and she continues to promote her cause to deliver a little bit of magic to kids in hospital beds.
Some information provided by Duke Children's Hospital & Health Center.