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8-year-old Wellsville girl uses allowance for gift to young LMH patients

Published on September 16, 2015

8-year-old Wellsville girl uses allowance for gift to young LMH patients

It’s been a tough few months for the Unruh family.

In June, Ann Unruh was diagnosed with colon cancer. She had surgery at Lawrence Memorial Hospital and on July 24 began a series of 12 chemotherapy treatments that will stretch into next year.

Avery Unruh, 8, recently donated coloring books and colors for children who are at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Pictured with Avery is Traci Hoopingarner, director of Maternal-Child Services.This journey has affected the entire family -- Ann Unruh, her husband, Elba, and their daughter, 8-year-old Avery. It would be easy to understand if the Unruhs felt sorry for themselves. But that’s not how this Wellsville family lives.

Ann and Elba Unruh are longtime teachers. Ann teaches kindergartners at Wellsville Elementary School, where her husband teaches fifth-graders. And, of course, they’ve taught Avery.

But Avery’s recent generosity surprised even her parents.

Each week, when Avery receives her allowance of $7, she divides the money among three cups labeled give, save and spend.

But after her mother’s cancer diagnosis, Avery moved all of her allowance money into the “give” cup. And then she went shopping, with her focus on young patients at Lawrence Memorial Hospital.

“I saw all the doctors and nurses who took care of my mom, and I wondered about how all the kids are, and I decided to give them colors and coloring books,” the Wellsville Elementary School third-grader says.

She donated the 15 sets of books and colors to the pediatric department at LMH.

“It was all her idea,” her mother says. “I’m really proud of her. … The motivator for Avery to donate the coloring books and crayons was the exceptional care that I received from the doctors and nurses at LMH, from arrival in the ER to surgery, recovery and oncology.”

The Wellsville community -- friends, co-workers, neighbors, people they’ve never met – has embraced the family and given them a helping hand, from providing meals to hold fundraisers.

“We have been treated very well,” Ann says.

Avery, who was born at LMH, says giving to children who are in the hospital made her feel good.

“It was just so sweet of her,” says Traci Hoopingarner, director of Maternal Child Services, who met Avery and her mother when they delivered the coloring books to LMH. “It was a very nice idea for her to do, and we’ll use them, for sure.”

Donate on-line or call the LMH Endowment Association, 785-505-6134.

-- Caroline Trowbridge

LMH Endowment Association