Thursday, May 11, 2017

Girl with chronic illnesses founds a non-profit to bring smiles to hospitalized kids

Kayla Abramovitz and her brother Ethan know a thing or two about hospitals. Both have had extended hospital stays because of chronic illnesses: Crohn's disease, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Eosinophilic Esophagitis.

When Kayla was 11-years-old, she wanted to help some younger patients through their long, frightening, often boring hospital stays, but she was too young to volunteer. She noticed some Thomas the Train DVDs on her own shelves at home and had an idea.

With the help of her family, Kayla Cares 4 Kids began with a goal of collecting 100 donated DVDs for Niklaus Children's Hospital in Miami. That was four years ago. Kayla Cares 4 Kids, now a 401c3 non-profit, has collected over 14,000 items to date, including DVDs, electronic hand-held games, and arts and craft supplies. Donations are dropped off at collection points in Florida and New Jersey, and have been enjoyed by kids in children's hospitals and Ronald McDonald houses in all 50 states, Washington DC, and Puerto Rico.

Now 15, Kayla has won numerous local and national awards for her work. She works as hard as ever to "help sick kids feel better one smile at a time."

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