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Birthday girl eschews presents for hospital donations

Bolingbrook, IL – For her 10th birthday, Mia Farrell didn’t ask for Webkinz or Barbie dolls or the latest Wii game. Instead, the Bolingbrook girl told her friends and family she wanted them to donate to the Bolingbrook Hospital Foundation’s first nursing scholarship. The donations totaled $600.

“I’ve always been interested in helping people,” said Mia, a fourth-grader at St. Dominic School in Bolingbrook. “I chose the nursing scholarship because it’s a new hospital, so they need more workers. And I thought the more workers there are, the more people could be cured from sicknesses.” 

The idea to donate her birthday money to charity came up when Mia couldn’t think of anything she wanted for her birthday, which was March 11. Parents James and Liza Farrell brought up the idea of reaching out to a charity. Mia loved the idea, so the family began researching local charitable donations; James suggested the Bolingbrook Hospital Foundation after meeting the foundation’s executive director, Derek Cazeau, at a community event.

“We didn’t know how she was going to take it but she was very excited,” said James Farrell, a network engineer in the village of Bolingbrook’s information technology department. “She was the driving force after that. It brought tears to my eyes at her party just to see how happy she was. It was just a great feeling.”

Kathy Mitchell, chief nursing officer at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, said the donation will go a long way toward the hospital’s first nursing scholarship.

“We are so grateful because Mia’s donation will help us get this scholarship program off the ground,” Mitchell said. “We hope Mia will participate in awarding the scholarship later this year.”

Cazeau expressed his gratitude on behalf of the hospital foundation.

“Mia’s generosity is so touching to all of us here at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital,” Cazeau said. “A young girl making such a grown-up decision to request donations to the hospital instead of birthday presents really speaks to the community spirit of Mia and the Farrell family.”