DES MOINES, Iowa -- "I`m challenging all of you here tonight to do what you can to make a difference too. I mean, do you really want to be shown up by an 11 year-old? really?" That was the message Grace McCunn of Ames had for an audience when she was the Festival of Trees gala speaker this year.
And to think...it all started with a headache. "Last year I was in the hospital for migraine headaches, and when I came out of the hospital, I saw the brick wall," said McCunn.
The donor wall in the lobby of Blank Children's Hospital recognizes those who support the hospital's different programs and services, by giving at least $10,000. Grace decided that she wanted her name to be on that wall, and so she got to work. "I decided to start doing lemonade and hot chocolate stands on the end of my street and surprisingly, it did pretty well. I didn`t think it was going to do that well," said McCunn. Neither did grace's mother. "never did i think it would get to over $10,000. Now, she`s up to over $13,000 right now," said Mary Jane McCunn.
One of the ways the 6th grader raised money was through a coin drive at Ames Middle School. "Pennies, nickels, dimes...we took the money actually to Wells Fargo in Ames and broke their counting machine, so yeah it was fun," said Grace's math teacher, Stacey Culhane.
Not only did Grace raise lots of money, but she also collected lots of toys to deliver to the hospital for the holidays. "At Blank, we’re very very lucky. We always say we’re founded on the generosity of our community and that’s how we continue and we`re very thankful and humble to live in such a great place as Central Iowa and I think with people like Grace, we know that we have a very strong future of that generosity continuing," said Brenna Finnerty, Director of Development at Blank Children's Hospital.
And through her generosity, Grace will make it onto that donor wall. "This spring, we will add our new donors from giving this past year and Grace will be the youngest donor on the wall," said Finnerty.