What Rylan Payne lacks in stature he makes up for in the size of his heart.
Recently, the 5-year-old Peace Lutheran preschooler dressed up as Mario at a Halloween costume contest, hosted by Great Shots. He ended up winning the contest and taking home a $500 prize.
But he decided to use that money to support front-line workers at Sanford USD Medical Center in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Snacks and thank-yous
Rylan and older brother Jaden joined their mom Jackie on a trip to Sam’s Club, where they spent the prize money on all kinds of snacks for health care workers.
On Nov. 23, they made the delivery.
“We wanted to do something good with the money, didn’t we, buddy?” Jackie asked Rylan, who nodded “yes” as the two were bringing snacks into the hospital.
“We know that health care workers, front-line workers have really been taking the brunt of this. We just wanted to do a simple thing to say ‘thank you, and we appreciate you,'” she added.
However, Jaden didn’t want his little brother to have all the fun. The 11-year-old asked his classmates at Discovery Elementary School in Sioux Falls if they’d join him in writing thank-you notes and care cards for the staff at Sanford Health.
“They say things like ‘thank you for fighting COVID, you rock, we appreciate you.’ Things like that,” said Jaden.
His classmates got on board, and they made nearly 200 handwritten cards.
It’s a gesture that will go a long way, says Kelly Hefti, Sanford Health vice president of nursing and clinical services in Sioux Falls.
“This is an amazing gift from these children. I think that’s the cool part about it. It’s children recognizing that health care workers are being heroes right now,” she said.
Jackie says she, Rylan, Jaden, and the rest of her family hopes their kind deed inspires others to do the same.
“Especially since it is Thanksgiving time, we thought what a great way to show the community that we are supporting, and hopefully inspire others to do the same,” she said.
Hefti says this is another shining example of the support Sanford Health has received throughout the pandemic.
“It means a lot. I think I’ve said it several times throughout this pandemic: the community support, the way they’ve rallied around us as a health care institution, around us as health care workers, it’s amazing what they’re doing for us.”
If you’d like to donate to Sanford in Sioux Falls, call the donation hotline at (605) 312-0265.
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