NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — A sixth grader who was told she likely wouldn’t walk or talk uses her birthday to give back to children in the hospital at Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters.
Finley Hooker, 12, says she’s received the greatest gift on her birthday. Not toys, clothes or maybe the latest gadget, but the gift of donations to children who are in the shoes she was once in.
“Helping others is more important than getting gifts and something you can play with,” said Finley.
It’s called Party with a Purpose, a donation program set up through CHKD.
“She’s our miracle kid,” said her grandfather, Bubba Hooker. “We are so proud. All grandkids are special, because of her and her stroke and where we thought it was headed, is a miracle.”
His hat and purple shirt reveal — this is one proud grandpa.
“It’s been hard with the stroke and all…sorry,” said Bubba.
Finley had a stroke just after she was born. Her mother noticed something wasn’t quite right. Just days after arriving home from the hospital Finley was transported to CHKD. Doctors knew she’d have a tough road ahead, saying she wouldn’t walk or talk.
“I kind of proved them wrong,” said Finley.
With great doctors, prayer and family helped Finley break those barriers. Now, not only is Finley walking and talking, but she’s dancing and using music as therapy.
“It’s emotional to watch her dance knowing that she was predicted not to walk and now she gets up there and competes,” said Bubba.
It’s also emotional for him because Finley is using her hard times to give back to kids still fighting.
Finley hosts a birthday party each year for Party with a Purpose, and in lieu of gifts she gets donations for CHKD. This year alone, on her 12th birthday she received $1,400 in donations thanks to the generosity of family and friends.
In total, she’s collected and donated about $15,000.
“If all of these kids started hosting birthday parties and giving back we could make a huge difference in this community to the care that we can continue to provide,” said Kate Cruse, development officer with public relations at CHKD.
Some of the services supported by philanthropy include: chaplaincy, child life, child abuse program and pet therapy Every child who comes to CHKD receives the same level and quality of care, regardless of their family’s ability to pay.
If anyone is interested in hosting a Party with a Purpose fundraiser, they can send an email to gifts@CHKD.org to get started.
For information about other ways to give, please visit CHKD.org.