A gift for giving
2019 National Honoree | Alexander Fultz of Pineville, North Carolina
The holidays were rapidly approaching when Alexander’s baby brother, Benjamin, was again admitted into Levine Children’s hospital because of a severe fever. Weeklong stints in the hospital were becoming normal for the young family. Alexander was a regular visitor. Caring and outgoing, he bonded with hospital staff. His favorite holiday was Christmas, and as it drew near, Alexander asked when the patients went home for the holidays. He was shocked to learn that most didn’t. Saddened by how many children underwent treatment, each one became another reason for him to take action.
Alexander saved his allowance and birthday money. He bought gifts for patients to bring them some holiday joy. He could only afford a few gifts but knew it made a difference. He became determined to find a way to give on a larger scale.
The gift of giving
Lemonade stands in summer and hot chocolate stands in winter were the early fundraisers for Alexander’s Toy Trunk, Inc. He rallied support, forming community partnerships and getting classmates and teachers to volunteer, sorting and wrapping gifts. Alexander created a website and social media accounts to share updates and spread news. To inspire other children to do good in the community, he spoke to classes, even the older kids in eighth grade.
After three years, an event coordinator for Levine Children’s Hospital asked Alexander whether he would consider delivering gifts to families in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). The hospital’s smallest patients are often overlooked. Alexander agreed and started collecting blankets, books, outfits and toys for every family in the NICU.
Due to patient privacy laws, Alexander hasn’t met the patients his gifts go to. Which is why the Good Morning America segment about him became even more special. He was able to meet several families in the NICU and see the tiny babies he was supporting.
“One of the doctors told me that happy people heal faster, so I am also technically speeding up recovery times for children who have to spend time in the hospital for recovery or treatment,” explained Alexander.
Since 2010, Alexander has delivered thousands of gifts to hospitals in several states. His little brother has joined in the work and, together, they plan to keep the Toy Trunk full.
“I learned that anyone, no matter how old, can make a great impact in their community with just a drive to do good.