Lifestyle & Human Interest

Sweet Little Girl Makes $70,000 After Holding Sign on Side of Road


If you ever feel the need to complain or to question your own capabilities, take a moment to consider what people who lack able bodies have accomplished. I mean, disabled individuals have competed at all athletic levels.

In the early 20th century, Hungarian Olympic water polo player Oliver Halassy managed to win medals despite missing part of a leg. Italy’s Paola Fantato joined the 1996 Olympics and Paralympics in the same year as a wheelchair-bound archer.

Of course, excelling at athletics when you have a body that doesn’t work entirely correctly makes for a dramatic contrast, but it isn’t the only way in which disabled people have shown they can excel. Just think about young Addie Bryan.

According to the Rockwall County Herald-Banner, Addie didn’t have an easy start to life. She was born with Larsen syndrome.

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This congenital deformity can lead to all sorts of issues, including facial deformities. But one of the syndrome’s most characteristic features is the development of club feet and misaligned joints.

Addie had a club foot and the added misfortune of legs that bent backward. But thanks to the efforts of Dallas’ Texas Scottish Rite Hospital, she can now run and play, although she can’t bend her knees.

“She started [treatment] when she was five days old, and since then, she’s loved every bit of it,” Addie’s mother, Julie, explained to 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.” Addie’s thankfulness ran so deep that she decided she wanted to raise money for Scottish Rite.

In 2014, she and some friends set up a lemonade stand to garner funds for the hospital. Yet as the donations rolled in, Addie abandoned the lemonade and simply stood on her street corner with a hat and a sign.

That year she raised an impressive $4,200. She decided to aim for the stars in 2015 — and little did she know she would overshoot them.

She set an initial goal of $8,000 and kept her promotional strategy the same. “I just hold a sign that says, ‘For my birthday, I want to raise $8,000 for Scottish Rite Hospital,’” she told USA Today.

However, media coverage by multiple mainstream media outlets caused the money to start rolling in. By the time she finished counting, she had $19,500.

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“I thought, ‘Wow, that is a lot of money,’” she said. Little did she know that an anonymous donor had seen her on television and, impressed by her attitude, had donated another $50,000 to the hospital in her name.

“I am almost speechless, because I am the one who opened it,” Scottish Rite Hospital Vice President of Development Stephanie Brigger said. “The anonymous donor wrote about seeing Addie and the pictures of her and then seeing her running. …

“That’s a lot of casts and a lot of prosthetic devices. Every little bit and big amounts help us do what we do.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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