JOPLIN, Mo. – A day of yard work has turned into a thoughtful gift for children and their families who need it the most.
The story of a young 5-year-old girl and her small mission to give back is blossoming into something even bigger
“Nana texted and said, ‘Hey, let’s go pick up walnuts,’ like she does every year,” says Maggie Beachner.
But, this year was special.
Maggie’s daughter Nora helped out her nana and cousins to pick up walnuts and the wheels started turning.
“We had talked to her about being the local Champion and being a hero for all the other kids who are going through the things that she’s going through. And, when we were picking up walnuts, we were talking about how much money we were going to earn,” says Maggie.
Nora’s nana Georgiana McGriff had the “a-ha” moment.
Maggie says, “It was Nana’s idea, ‘Hey! Let’s see if we can partner with Children’s Miracle Network and see how much money we can earn for them.”
That’s because Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has helped Nora since she was just a baby.
“Nora was about 9 months old when she was first diagnosed, and she’s 5 now and doing great,” says Maggie.
Nora was diagnosed with a rare tumor that makes her body turn into an adult too soon.
Joseph Beachner, Nora’s Dad, says “We’re good now, but we want to give back and help other families going through the same thing because they did. They were here for us.”
A special presentation was held Monday at Freeman Health System, Joplin’s local CMN Hospital.
Paula Baker, Freeman Health System President & CEO, said “Nora, Georgiana, and all of Nora’s cousins worked together over 2,000 pounds of walnuts. Do you know how many walnuts that is?”
Out of the audience came a child’s voice, “A lot!”
“A lot! That’s right!” said Baker as she and the rest of the room laughed at the child’s innocence.
Thankfully, Nora had a lot of help with those walnuts.
“Nana, Aunt Rachel, Aunt Leigh, Uncle Patrick, Mommy and Daddy, Aunt Opal, and June, and Georgia, and Iris, and Louis [all helped],” says Nora.
Selling the walnuts then lead to a $400.00 donation to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.
“There’s something pure and noble about supporting a worthy cause. It’s even more pure and noble when it comes to the eyes of a 5-year-old girl who’s experienced the benefit of said cause,” says Ryan Melton, Freeman Health System Executive Director of Development.
The story spread to the community , which prompted “Nora’s Match,” turning the $400.000 donation into more than $20,000 and counting.
Melton adds, “The goal for us is to just tell the story. What happens with that is just icing on the cake.”
As for Nora, she still has to travel every six months or so for doctors appointments and procedures, but Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals have been there for her all along the way.
“We didn’t really have anybody to relate with, and just having a network of people who are going through something simliar for us, as a young family, has been huge. So, a donation to this network is not just helping other other kiddos, but just helping the entire family, so thank you,” says Joseph.
Maggie adds, “She’s been super, super strong through this whole thing. Joseph and I have been brought to tears so many times at the hospitals and she’s our hero.”
If you’d like to give to “Nora’s Match,” visit the Freeman Health System link.