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How This Teen Is Helping Make Daunting Hospital Stays More Enjoyable For All Kids

How did you spend Thanksgiving? If you’re 14-year-old Kayla Abramowitz, you spent it at Palms West Hospital in Loxahatchee, Florida—by choice.

Kayla was not there as a patient, but as a visitor, coloring and doing crafts with kids, as WPTV reports. Her brother Ethan, 11, was there, too, passing out toys to child patients.

But this wasn’t just a one-time volunteer opportunity for Kayla. She has been a hospital patient herself numerous times, given that she battles chronic illnesses including Crohn’s Disease, Juvenile arthritis and Eosinophilic colitis. Ethan battles them, too and requires the use of a feeding machine.

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So Kayla’s no stranger to long stints in the hospital and being stuck there on special occasions and holidays. She recently celebrated her 14th birthday in the hospital, for example.

It was these long “boring” hours spent in the hospital that led Kayla to create what is now a thriving nonprofit. When she was 11, she started Kayla Cares 4 Kids, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that distributes entertainment and educational items to donate to children’s hospitals.

“I really want to make other children happy because I know exactly what it’s like to be missing some big, fun times,” Kayla said to WPTV about her mission. “The face that lights up and it makes me think of myself in a hospital bed. I can relate to them so much, and it’s so heartwarming.”

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“After a particular two-week hospital stay, one of my first big long ones, I realized it was extremely boring at the hospital,” Kayla said. “I’d gone to the hospital so much and I’d watched the same movies all over again, so I decided to make a flyer and go around my neighborhood. I told my parents I wanted 100 DVDs in my living room to donate.”

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And those 100 donated movies turned into a nationwide nonprofit.

Kayla Cares 4 Kids has partnered with various companies, such as Sam’s Club and Dreamsworks Animation, to get even more help for her organization. They provide movies and games for Kayla Cares to deliver to hundreds of hospitals across the U.S.

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Impressed yet? We sure are.

Kayla has also won various awards for her service, like the Christopher Reeve Service Award she received earlier this year, as well as being recognized as one of America’s Top 10 Youth Volunteers of 2016.

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Congratulations to this exceptionally “caring” kid, and here’s hoping she spends a little less time in the hospital in the year ahead—well, as a patient, anyway.

Incidentally, Kayla Cares 4 Kids can always use more donations, and you can visit their website for more info.