The Pictou County Personal Empowerment Program...
A Six-Year-Old’s Birthday Tradition of Giving Back
Dani MacInnis and her parents, Meghan and Jake MacInnis, have been turning Dani’s birthday into a fundraiser for the Women and Children’s Unit at Aberdeen Hospital since 2018.
Born almost a month early, Dani spent the first weeks of her life in the Aberdeen Hospital – a time which inspired her family to find ways to give back.
“She was so well cared for and as first-time parents, Jake and I felt very supported,” says Meghan. “When Dani turned two we decided with her birthday being so close to Christmas, it would be nice to give back rather than receive.”
At the same time Meghan’s mother, Debbie Walsh, was spearheading her own fundraising efforts to supply the hospital with a Biliblanket, so the idea to continue to fundraise for the Women and Children’s Unit came easily.
“When Dani was born with high Bilirubin levels, it shed light onto the Biliblanket issue,” says Meghan. “We also realized that not everything is funded. Sometimes you need to have help from the community because it’s just not in the budget. By giving this money to the maternity floor, we’re giving them the freedom to purchase things that can provide comfort to parents and babies.”
The response to Dani’s birthday fundraiser was so positive that it became a yearly tradition. This past December marked Dani’s sixth birthday and the most successful fundraiser to date, raising over $705 from family, friends and classmates and bringing her giving total to over $1,700.
Now older, Dani has a good understanding of how the money is used and the fundraiser has become a point of pride and excitement for her. “I like dropping the money off and getting pictures with the big cheque,” says Dani. “It makes me feel happy because it’s helping to buy stuff for the babies, like hats to keep them warm, blankets and medicine. Also maybe a monitor to check their temperature.”
“She gets so much praise from her family and from the teachers at her school, which makes her feel really proud,” Dani’s mom adds. “As a kid, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the excitement of getting new toys or gifts. I want her to always remember that it’s important to give back, too. I hope Jake and I instill a sense of generosity in her that will follow her into adulthood.”
Meghan and Jake’s hope is already proving true, as Dani’s generous and caring spirit certainly doesn’t end with her birthday donation. “I want to be a doctor,” Dani says, when asked what she would like do when she grows up. “When I’m a doctor, I want to help sick people get better.”