Lucy Beal was simply 11 months previous when she died of a congenital coronary heart situation. Her oldest sister Grace was 7.
And though Grace remembers plenty of ache from that point, she additionally remembers extraordinary kindness from hospital personnel who helped her get via it. For the final eight years, she’s been elevating cash to thank them — and to assist them assist others.
“It’s very laborious to have a sick baby in your loved ones,” mentioned Grace, now 15, of New Fortress. “The hospital, they have been nice in each method. We all know, it doesn’t matter what, it’s going to be laborious, and having the ability to assist these households in any method is simply so necessary.”
Final 12 months, Grace’s occasion, Layups for Lucy, raised $21,000 for Kids’s Hospital. The 12 months earlier than, it raised $17,000. All collectively, she’s raised greater than $37,000 in varied fundraisers since her sister’s dying in 2009, in addition to donating about 600 books and quite a few child blankets.
Grace is one among 5 2016 Jefferson Award finalists for the Most Excellent Volunteer of the 12 months Award. Regionally, the Jefferson Award program is run by the Pittsburgh Put up-Gazette with sponsorships from Highmark and BNY Mellon. WOMEN of Southwestern Pennsylvania will donate $1,000 in Grace’s identify to Kids’s Hospital.
She is fast to credit score assist from the New Fortress neighborhood, in addition to volunteer assist from her household (particularly her youthful sister, Eliza) and from fellow college students at Neshannock Excessive Faculty. She’s additionally grateful for the assistance from company sponsors, akin to Chick-Fil-A and NOVA Ambulance Service.
Layups for Lucy began as a Three-on-Three basketball match however has developed into way more. The occasion, held in October or November, near Lucy’s birthday, contains face portray, dance workforce performances, a foul-shot contest and a half-court shot to win free Chick-Fil-A meals for a 12 months. About 500 folks attended the latest fundraiser.
Because the amount of cash raised has grown, Grace has turn into extra concerned with how it’s getting used. She labored carefully with the Little one Life and Supportive Care departments at Kids’s Hospital, deciding on makes use of akin to iPads and Xboxes for sufferers and siblings of sufferers, grief counseling, outings such because the zoo and a Pirates sport and a brand new bereavement camp for youngsters ages 7-17.
“Once I would go to the hospital, my mother would have a lot happening,” she mentioned. “They’d come, deliver video games to play, issues to do, issues to maintain me busy. They’d make sure that I wasn’t simply sitting round moping.”
Grace additionally remembers them serving to to clarify her sister’s medical situation and coverings. “Having them to have the ability to ask questions, to attempt to higher perceive what was happening made it rather less difficult.”
Earlier than selecting the Layups for Lucy occasion, Grace additionally organized different fundraisers. In fourth grade, shortly after Lucy died, Grace acquired her classmates to donate these 600 books. In fifth grade, she raised $Three,400 in a “Laps for Lucy” fundraiser via her swim workforce. In sixth grade, she donated “Lovies for Lucy” blankets to the Kids’s Dwelling.
She began Layups for Lucy in seventh grade. Subsequent 12 months, Grace hopes to increase the occasion to different excessive faculties as effectively. Ultimately, she’d prefer to fund a school scholarship in Lucy’s identify.
Household buddy Mariellen Warvell of New Fortress nominated Grace for the award after serving on the committee to assist plan Layups for Lucy.
“Right here she is, 15 years previous, elevating cash for others,” mentioned Ms. Warvell. “I believe it’s necessary for younger folks which might be doing nice issues for others.”
Anya Sostek: email@example.com or 412-263-1308.