Eleven-year-old Blackfalds girl Hannah Stendie wanted to make a difference on her 11th birthday.
To do so, Stendie — whose birthday was on Dec. 20 — started a GoFundMe page for the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at the Red Deer Hospital
“I thought that since both my brother and my sister, as well as my cousin who had a serious heart condition, spent time in the NICU that I could donate to it for my birthday and give back to the community,” Stendie said.
Stendie set the original goal of $250, but she has since eclipsed that mark, raising $550 to date — with the final day of the fundraiser being Dec. 31.
“Many people have got on board: my family members, friends, people I don’t even know and it has come quite a ways from what I expected,” she said.
Part of the money raised came from Stendie collecting bottles and taking them to bottle depot herself. All of the organizing and collection of the funds was organized by Stendie herself, according to her mother Rebecca.
Stendie said she wanted to help the one in 10 babies in Canada who require care in the NICU. She also wanted to continue giving back, something which has provided her personal joy.
“I have done a lemonade stand for the SPCA twice before, so it is not my first fundraiser,” she said, adding,”I love giving back. I volunteer and it brings joy to me to help other people.”
Stendie very much hopes that people continue to donate to the GoFundMe and she also committed herself to cutting her hair for Angel Hair for Kids, which provides wigs for kids who have lost their hair from cancer.
“I did it (cut her hair) the day after my birthday on Dec. 21st,” she said.
Stendie thanked everyone who donated so fair and encouraged people to continue to give. She will hand deliver the funds to the NICU upon the completion of the fundraiser.