Pass it forward: A random act of kindness
May 1, 2009
As part of the International Baccalaureate Program at Ecker Hill International Middle School, sixth-grade students are required to complete at least six hours of community service. Many students choose to spend their service hours walking dogs at Furburbia or sorting recyclables at Recycle Utah, but Maddie Carpenter wanted to do something different
When Maddie was six years old, her brother, Max, was diagnosed with Wilms’ tumor, a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children. At the time, Max was four years old. Maddie remembers how scary it was to see her brother in the hospital, and she knows how much it meant to her parents when friends and neighbors made an effort to brighten their spirits by delivering meals, treats and gift baskets.
So when Maddie found out that a local toddler is fighting leukemia, she knew she wanted to help.
Rogan Crawford, who is just over two years old, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in August 2008. Her parents, Corey and Casey, have spent the past seven months in and out of Primary Children’s Medical Center for their daughter’s chemotherapy treatments.
Rogan is currently in the maintenance phase of treatment. "She’s on a steady regimen of chemo with minimal side effects," explains Corey. "The danger of where’s she at right now is bacterial infections." Since Rogan’s immune system is compromised by the chemo, she is not allowed to play outside or interact with other kids. The scheduled completion date for her treatment is October 2010.
Friends of the Crawfords set up the Go Rogan Foundation to help the couple pay their medical bills. "The treatments are incredibly expensive," says Corey. "Even though we have really good health insurance, our out-of-pocket expenses are staggering."
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When Maddie found out about the family’s situation and the benefit fund for Rogan, she began to brainstorm ways to raise money. In February, she placed a box of snacks in her dad’s store, Park City Lock & Key. For about a month, she kept the box stocked with homemade rice crispie treats and other snack items, selling them for a dollar each.
In the meantime, Maddie spent hours sewing a patchwork quilt for Rogan that she could take to the hospital to feel more at home. Maddie learned to sew in continuing-education classes and used her own sewing machine to craft her gift for Rogan.
By mid-March, Maddie’s snack box had raised $100 for the Go Rogan Foundation. She also bought Rogan an Elmo toy (her favorite character) and got a gift certificate to any Bill White restaurant for Casey and Corey. She placed the donation, the quilt and the gifts in a basket and made a surprise delivery at the Crawford house.
"It was pretty special," says Corey, who had never met Maddie before she showed up on their doorstep. "It was really cool for Rogan to get a visitor and Casey and I were so grateful."
"At first, Rogan seemed kind of scared, like she didn’t know if I was a nurse or something," says Maddie. "But after I hung out with her for a little while, she really warmed up to me." Rogan was thrilled with her new "snuggy snuggy," as she called the quilt, and ecstatic about adding another Elmo doll to her collection.
Maddie says the feeling after leaving Rogan’s house was one of the best she’s ever felt. "I was really happy," she says.
Maddie’s friends are impressed with her community service project. "They thought it was cool that I was doing something different and sweet that I was helping a little girl," she says.
Max also has respect for what his big sister is doing. "She’s getting to help people that really need it," he says. "The things she’s been doing for Rogan are the nicest things I’ve ever seen."
To follow the Crawfords’ blog about Rogan or to donate to the Go Rogan Foundation, visit http://gorogan.blogspot.com.