When she saw that her daughter’s backpack was bursting at the steams, she immediately knew something was wrong.
Inside the bag were stacks of cash, papers, and other strange objects. “Where did you get this money from?” she asked her daughter. But the girl remained silent.
Little Addie was born with a rare genetic disorder called Larson syndrome. Only 1 out of 1000 people are born with it.
Larson syndrome affects the development of bones in the body. By the age of 7, Addie had had 65 surgeries to correct her legs. But there was more in store for this brave little girl and her family.
Since Addie spent most of her time at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, she was always happy to be out with her friends and go to school. She was a very active and bright child.
But unbeknownst to those around her, she was hiding something huge.
When Addie wasn’t at the hospital, she played with her friends outside and went to sleepovers.
Her parents didn’t know that she was far from playing. They only suspected that something was wrong when her school backpack started to look bigger and bigger. Then, her mother looked inside…
One day, when Addie fell asleep, her mother went to her room and unzipped her backpack. She just had to know what her daughter was hiding in her bag.
When she looked inside, she saw stacks of cash. Where was her daughter getting this money from? And why hadn’t she mentioned anything?
She decided to wait until the morning to ask Addie why she had so much money in her bag. She feared her daughter was involved in some criminal activity.
But the real reason why Addie hid so much cash in her backpack was astonishing.
The next morning, Addie’s mother brought up the subject of the large sum of cash she had found in her bag.
As Addie began to tell her story, her mother’s eyes filled with tears. She felt so proud of her daughter!
“I just hold a sign that says, ‘For my birthday wish, “I want to raise $8,000 for Texas Scottish Rite Hospital,” Addie explained.
Addie’s mother promised she would do anything to help her daughter get her birthday wish.
The next day, Addie’s mom joined her daughter at the intersection in a busy neighborhood in Houston, Texas.
It didn’t take long for Addie’s story to go viral, with people commenting on her generosity and kindness. Soon, her name appeared in many leading newspapers and TV channels!
Addie and her mother managed to raise over $20,000! She also received an anonymous check for the crazy amount of $50,000 to be used for helping children just like her.
But why did Addie decide to raise money for the hospital in the first place?
Addie’s hospital, Texas Scottish Rite, relies on donations to provide care for children like her.
Many families can’t afford the treatment, and the donations help to cover the costs. Her parents accepted the generosity of the hospital in her time of need, and she simply wanted to return the favor.
“She started treatment when she was 5 days old, and since then, she’s loved every bit of it,” Addie’s mom, Julie Bryan, told PEOPLE.
“The hospital staff really took a great interest in her early on and gave her that positive experience. Every time she would go, they gave her toys and popcorn and invited her to different events.”
“She’s very active,” Julie continued. “She swims on our neighborhood swim team, she plays tennis, she loves playing tee-ball, and her P.E. teacher tells me she’s the best football thrower in the whole first grade.”
But how did the hospital staff react to her surprise?
The staff was extremely grateful for Addie’s help. But for her, it wasn’t a big deal.
“I love my hospital, and I want to help them,” Addie told PEOPLE. Julie wasn’t surprised to hear her daughter had been collecting donations for the hospital.
“For us, this is just Addie,” she said.
“This is who she is and what she does – it’s kind of always been her personality to want to help and give, especially to her hospital. It’s something very dear to her.”