7-year-old's bracelet making raises $  20,000 for hospital pandemic gear

Hayley Orlinsky wanted to fundraise $ 200 for Chicago’s Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s hospital by making colorful rubber band bracelets.

A few months and over 8,000 bracelets later, Orlinsky, 7, has raised over $ 20,000, helping the hospital purchase personal protective equipment (PPE) and support research efforts.
The Chicago second-grader began the project with an apparent knack for entrepreneurshipshe sold the most cookies in her girl scout troop last yearand a desire to spread kindness in response to bullies who made fun of her height.
When I was three years old, I got bullied for being the shortest kid in the class, and my mom wrote a book about it, and it was my moment I knew I wanted to spread kindness everywhere,” Orlinsky said.
    When asked if she understands what a significant financial contribution she’s made to her hometown hospital, she smiled.
    It’s definitely more than the tooth fairy gives!” sy het gese.
    Orlinsky’s mom, author Lori Orlinsky, says what started as an after school hobby quickly became a sensation.
    Orlinsky has now sold bracelets to customers as far as Italy, as well as to Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot, the Chicago White Sox and Miguel Cervantes, the lead role in Chicago’s production ofHamilton.
    Quickly after Mayor Lightfoot posted about the bracelets, the Chicago flag colors became Orlinsky’s most in-demand bracelet design.
    Mayor Lori Lightfoot wearing one of Hayley's creations.

    Orlinsky’s bracelet making has become a community effort. She says she’s gotten her friends involved, teaching bracelet making at her summer camp, and later to friends over Facetime and Zoom.
    Every day the campers had the choice to help Haley make bracelets, and she would come home with hundreds. It was really helpful to us,” said Lori Orlinsky.
    Added Haley: “Ja, because that’s when we were really in a tight squeeze.
    Orlinsky chose to donate to the Lurie Children’s hospital, having spent time in their intensive care unit at birth. She wanted to give back after hearing that healthcare workers were running low on PPE.
    “$ 20,000 is a pretty incredible amount to raise, especially for a 7-year-old,” said Tracey McCusker, an associate director for the hospital’s foundation. “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.
    McCusker says the money has been used for PPE, but it has also helped fund the hospital’s telehealth services, development of a diagnostic test and Covid-19 research. Daarbenewens, McCusker says the hospital has used some of the money to provide low-income communities with PPE and safety information they need to help combat the virus.
    Her support is helping, natuurlik, inside of our hospital, but I would certainly in our greater community as well,” McCusker said.
      Orlinsky says she wants to keep making bracelets until the pandemic is over, and she is already planning special designs for the holidays. As her donations near the $ 21,000 mark, her mom says she’s most proud of her daughter for being a uniting force during divided times.
      It was just a time when the world was at odds with each other and we had people from all walks of life donate,” Lori said. “This is proof that in really trying times we can all come together under a little girl with a beautiful mission.

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