One little boy from Bayport, N.Y., sure knows how to brighten people’s day by giving the gift of coloring.
When 6-year-old Jake June showed up Monday to Stony Brook Long Island Children’s Hospital, he had 1,800 coloring books in tow, ready to distribute them among all the patients in the Pediatric Emergency Department.
Jake raised the $275 he used to buy the coloring books all on his own, by holding a fundraiser selling brewed iced tea and baked cookies at his father’s business, All Pro Sports Academy in Bellport, N.Y., on March 2.
“He makes us proud every day. He’s a very compassionate kid,” Jake’s mother, Karen June, told ABCNews.com.
But Jake didn’t just show up with his little red wagon full of coloring books on a whim. He had a very special reason for wanting to donate them to all the children at the hospital’s emergency room.
“Because they took care of me, it’s time for me to pay them back,” Jake said at the hospital.
Last December, Jake was taken to the hospital for a bad case of the stomach flu. After his treatment and recovery, he wanted to do something to give back to the Pediatric Emergency Department staff that had made him feel so much better.
“We always talk about paying it forward. Good karma,” Karen June said. “It was all his idea. He just said, ‘You know what would be nice? If we did a charity for the hospital I was at.’”
Jake and his parents had discussed possibly having a lemonade stand, but it was too cold outside for that. So they decided on iced tea and cookies at his father’s work instead. But none of them expected the amount of cash he’d rake in.
“I thought we could just donate it through the website, but we didn’t want it to get lost that way. So we called the hospital to see what they really needed,” Karen June said. “They had tons of crayons but no coloring books. I went online and looked for coloring books in bulk.”
And the children couldn’t have been more pleased with their surprise, let alone getting it hand-delivered by another child who had been in the same shoes as they were.
“The children were very impressed and excited and inspired,” said Clinton Weaver, the hospital’s public affairs director. ”These things have a ripple effect. This was inspirational for the other children on the receiving end of it.”
“For whatever reason they were in the hospital that day, he made their experience a little brighter,” Karen June said.