Philanthropist in training
Cupids girl foregoes birthday presents for donations
Birthdays are typically the one time of the year when the day is completely about the person celebrating.
There are presents, parties and cake all putting the emphasis on the birthday boy or girl. However, late last month one young Cupids resident turned that idea on its head.
On Jan. 31, freshly turned sevenyear-old Allison Young made sure the attention was squarely on those who need it at the Ronald McDonald House in St. John’s.
The young philanthropist requested her invited guests bring donations for the house in lieu of birthday presents.
“I asked them to bring snack items, Lysol wipes and that kind of stuff,” Allison told The Compass in a recent interview.
To make it easy to figure out what to donate, Allison and her parents – Carlson and Rebecca Young – included the house’s wish list on a website. Some of those items include hair nets, scent free laundry detergent for babies and iTunes gift cards.
“We got a really good response from her classmates and her friends and family,” said Rebecca. “It worked out really well. It was a wonderful day.”
When the Youngs put everything on display after the 22 guests came and went, there was enough to cover a decent-sized family sofa.
“We had a good couch full of items,” said Carlson.
The Youngs made the trip to St. John’s on Feb 7 ,and Ronald McDonald House graciously accepted the gifts.
“They were surprised and really happy for the wipes,” said Rebecca. “We had 29 boxes of blue ones and one box of white ones,” added Allison.
In the name of
But, what makes a seven-yearold forgo her birthday presents for a list of items to be donated elsewhere?
According to its website, Ronald McDonald House provides a home-away-from-home for families of seriously ill children who are being treated at nearby children’s hospitals. It is a place where families can be together and kids can share experiences with others who are just like them.
Allison decided to put others first in honour of family friends Peter and Kerilynn Mercer. Their son Ethan, who has hemophilia, spent the first two weeks of his life in the Janeway Children’s Hospital and the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), and they stayed at Ronald McDonald House.
“Peter and aunt Kerilynn went to the house and I wanted to help,” said Allison. “It made me feel good.”
“It was a wonderful thing she did,” added her aunt Donna Fowler.
The Mercer’s reaction
When he heard of what Allison intended to do for her birthday, Peter was not all that surprised.
“We’ve always known Allison to have a very kind heart,” he said. “She really has a heart like no other. How many seven-year-olds would do something like this all on their own? “It was such selfless act.” It really hit home for Peter, his family and other families in similar situations. The Mercer’s spent some time recently at the house in St. John’s.
“To her, it may have seemed like just a small gesture, but it means so much more than that to us,” he said. “It will definitely help a lot of families out. At any given time, the Ronald McDonald House can provide a place to stay for up to 15 families. Allison’s contributions will certainly go a long way.
“We know from firsthand experience that people staying there really appreciate everything that is made available to them.” Social media explosion When stories like Allison’s get posted on social media these days, they sometimes take on a life of their own.
A photo of Allison with her donations shared to Facebook has generated dozens of likes, a number of shares and a host of comments commending the young girl for the work she did.
“You’re an amazing girl Allison. So proud of you,” wrote Tara Thompson.
“It’s had sort of a ripple effect,” said Carlson. “It’s a pretty big deal.”
For the Young’s, this selfless act is nothing new for Allison. She has done toll bridges in the past in memory of the late Dale Gosse and has made presentations at the annual Trinity Conception Placentia Health Foundation.
“I have something else in mind,” said Allison when asked if she will donate elsewhere.
“I’m going to raise money for the Janeway.”
Getting back to the party, all was not lost in the gift department for the young woman.
“I still got some presents,” Allison said with a smile.
Allison Young drops off her supplies for donation to Ronald McDonald House in St. John’s. Instead of accepting gifts, the birthday girl from Cupids asked friends to bring items to her party that others could put to good use.