A 12-year old named Emma Donkor is familiar with hospitals and the conditions of most rooms there. That’s because Donkor is a cancer patient and has spent so much time in hospitals herself. So rather than ask for gifts on her 12th birthday, Donkor asked her local community to donate socks for hospital patients to wear when they are in the hospital.
Donkor suffers from Neurofibromatosis, which causes tumors to grown on her nerve endings. Donkor was diagnosed with this condition when she was only 8 years old. To treat this, Donkor had to undergo chemotherapy as a child, which often requires hours upon hours in the hospital. This empathy for patients and people in the hospitals had Emma looking for the many ways she can help others in the same situation.
“I think the initial shock was I couldn’t believe it was happening to our family. You don’t think of childhood cancer until its part of your life. I didn’t want it to control our lives,” says Rebecca Donkor, Emma’s mother, “I figured if we turned it into a positive and gave her the opportunity to make a difference, and it would boost her morale.”
Aside from the socks that she has donated, Emma has also previously donated 12,000 containers of Play-Doh and iTunes gift cards to her home hospital, Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. For her upcoming birthday, Emma took to social media to ask for 1,200 fun and colorful pairs of socks for patients. In just a short amount of time, she doubled her goal with almost 2,400 pairs of socks.
“When she’s admitted to the hospital it’s always cold in the room to prevent germs. If you ask for a pair of socks from the hospital, they are big a bulky and not pretty,” Rebecca Donkor said. “So she figured socks would bring conversations and smiles.”