This 7-year-old Raised $20,000 for Hospital PPE, Research

Hayley Orlinsky making bracelets

Photo Credit: Charles Rex Arbogast/AP/Shutterstock

A 7-year-old girl has raised more than $20,000 for a Chicago hospital to purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and put toward their research efforts — all by making bracelets.

The second-grader, Hayley Orlinsky, had initially made a plan to raise $200 for Chicago's Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children's hospital with her homemade, colorful rubber band bracelets. She’d previously been a patient there in their neonatal intensive care unit.

Hayley works on her bed while listening to Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson and asking Alexa to tell her knock-knock jokes.

Interest in the bracelets exploded after Orlinsky’s mom, author Lori Orlinsky, posted a video on Facebook of her daughter talking about her project. By Wednesday, the child had sold about 9,000 bracelets and raised more than $22,000 for the hospital.

“I couldn’t believe it. It made me feel like I was doing something really important,” the little girl told the New York Times.

She also told the publication that she had help making the bracelets from “her family, including her younger sister, Ellie, who sorts the colors, and friends from her summer day camp.” It apparently takes her “about two minutes to make each bracelet” and she often “works on her bed while listening to Taylor Swift and Kelly Clarkson and asking Alexa to tell her knock-knock jokes.”

The bracelets, which go for $3 apiece or $5 a pair, have even gone to some big names locally. Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, members of the Chicago White Sox, and Miguel Cervantes, who played the lead role in Chicago's production of Hamilton, have all purchased bracelets, says CNN.

Tracey McCusker, an associate director for the hospital's foundation, told the network that the sum Orlinsky raised is “a pretty incredible amount to raise, especially for a 7-year-old.”

"This kind of fundraising effort allows the hospital to use the money for a variety of different things. It was definitely needed at a time when we really needed to respond rapidly to Covid-19,” she said, adding that the money has been used for PPE and to “fund the hospital's telehealth services, development of a diagnostic test, and Covid-19 research.”

McCusker also added that some of the money has been used to “provide low-income communities with PPE and safety information they need to help combat the virus.”

"Her support is helping, of course, inside of our hospital, but I would certainly (say) in our greater community as well," McCusker said.

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