After overhearing news reports about healthcare workers running out of masks and other supplies, 7-year-old Hayley Orlinsky started thinking about what she could do to help.
“I had an idea, I love making bracelets so what if I make bracelets for people, they give me money and I give it to (Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital),” says the Chicago grade-schooler who spent time in Lurie’s NICU as a baby.
Her goal: $200. Within days, she raised $1,500 – and kept going.
Before long, Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Gov. JB Pritzker and actor Miguel Cervantes were wearing her bracelets. She was named a hero beyond the Diamond by the Chicago White Sox, admitted into the Chicago History Museum’s virtual COVID-19 exhibit and nominated for a 2020 Red Cross Youth Hero Award. Her alderman even threw a parade in her honor.
Now, she is closing in on $20,000 – and she is looking for other helpers who can join her in raising money for hospitals by making bracelets.
“I felt scared and now I feel like I have a purpose,” Hayley says.
Her advice to other kids: Think about what they like to do and combine it with their wanting to help.
“It makes me feel great,” she says.
To place an order or help, visit her fundraising page.
Bracelets are $3 each or two for $5. Everyone who orders a bracelet gets a surprise color.
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This article also appeared in Chicago Parent’s May 2020 magazine and has been updated with the latest information. Read the rest of the issue here.