Gracey Chafin, 11, of Graniteville, S.C., a sixth-grader at Leavelle McCampbell Middle School, collected enough donations over the past five years to provide more than 100 Radio Flyer wagons and over 10,000 toys, books, games and other items to kids being treated at a local children’s hospital. When she was 6, Gracey donated seven inches of her hair to support a school friend who had been diagnosed with leukemia. Then she happened to learn that a local children’s hospital was soliciting donations, and “thought I hadn’t done enough.” So Gracey decided to collect money and toys for pediatric patients at Children’s Hospital of Georgia.
She started by selling cinnamon rolls and coffee at her neighborhood yard sale, and then organized an annual two-week donation drive at her school, where classmates bring in toys and other items that could brighten the days of hospitalized children. Gracey also collects money from family members, friends, businesses and church members to purchase red Radio Flyer wagons, which are used to transport both toys and young patients in the hospital. She delivers her toys and wagons to the hospital each year on her birthday. “The need of the hospital is so substantial, it is an overwhelming task,” said Gracey. “But when an entire community comes together, the task is so much more manageable.”