Last week, my People who Inspire post was about Emily Ruggieri, the six year old Girl Scout with a goal so big it would take an entire country to get her there.
Her Girl Scout Troop #26683 has chosen Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh (CHP) to be the recipient of cookies from their annual cookie sale.
Through the Girl Scout Cookies for CHP campaign, Emily wanted to honor her late father, Ethan Milliron, by filling all 22 patient pantries at the hospital with 1,584 cookies. Ethan had been a patient there and passed away from cancer when Emily was just 18 months old.
After going door to door through the neighborhood, Emily made it her goal to have people from every state in America buying Girl Scout cookies for the cause. She created a map to color the states as donations came in.
Exceeding the Goal
In just the last seven days, following social media, newspaper, magazine and television news coverage, several other Girl Scout troops have joined the effort, all 50 states on Emily’s map are now colored, and the cookie campaign to benefit CHP has gone global.
According to her parents, John and Suzanne Ruggieri, orders have come in from Canada, Jamaica, Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, Sweden, Germany, Israel, Singapore, Malaysia, China, Turkey, Taiwan, South Korea, and Australia – putting today’s tally at nearly 2,800 boxes.
This week has been an unexpected journey for Emily. She’s learned geography and math lessons as orders pile in – and so much about the human spirit.
The Human Spirit in Action
A Facebook page associated with John’s high school alma mater includes his updates on the Girl Scout Cookies for CHP campaign and they have touched people near and far.
One example is Lia from Florida who shared one of those updates. Her friend Robert in Rhode Island was moved by this effort and posted that he grew up watching his twin brother Richard undergoing treatment at a Children’s Hospital for cancer.
John said, “Richard saw his brother, Robert’s post and sent me a private message. He shared that he’s now a teacher at a school in Jamaica. He’s also a marathon runner and does so to raise funds for a foundation he started to support the school.
Richard understood this effort on both a personal and professional level and reached out to his friends, resulting in donations from six new states.”
Francisco is a friend of John. He grew up living in several countries, including Ecuador where his mother leads a mission. Now living in Maryland, he called John from the hospital bedside of his wife.
“She was hospitalized because her heart stopped beating. Francisco has the flu and he calls me. ‘I saw this on Facebook and I want to make a donation. This means something to me.’ That he would put his own problems aside to stop and support this effort. This is truly the human spirit in action,” John remarked.
Stories are arriving by mail too as John said that most of the donations coming in have included cards with notes for Emily. One of those cards came from an 11 year old boy who wrote on behalf of his siblings. He shared that $4.00 of their donation came from his brother, Emmett, who gave what was in his piggy bank.
“The Girl Scout Cookies for CHP cause is all about making life a little better for the patients and their families. Family members who are there all day, like Suzanne was for Ethan, know what it’s like to have to spend $1.75 in the vending machine so that they don’t have to leave the patient’s side to get something to eat.
The patient pantries on each floor are helpful, but they have just some basic items like crackers and cereal, never anything fun like Girl Scout cookies. The kind of treat that makes you smile,” John said.
Like the messages being sent from people everywhere who are supporting the cause.
It was Martin Luther King Day when Tom read about Emily’s story in the local newspaper. He tore off the day from the Joel Osteen calendar his wife gave him for Christmas and sent it to her with his donation. It read – If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly. – Romans 12:8
Later in March, with continued support, the Girl Scouts will load their cars with more than 3,000 boxes of cookies for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
When they do, they’ll be delivering more than cookies. They’ll be taking the kindness of people from all over the world to patients and their families. And they’ll do it gladly.
To donate through February 15th, email John at GSCOOKIES4CHP@GMAIL.COM
Cookie booths are also being set up in Greensburg, PA at the following locations – Friday, Feb. 28th from 6pm-8pm at Lowe’s in Greensburg; Saturday, March 15th from 4pm-6pm at Hempfield Giant Eagle; or Sunday March 16th from 2pm-4pm at Hempfield Giant Eagle.