A 10-year-old girl turned her experience recovering from a hip injury into a fundraising idea that benefited a local hospital.
After an accident left Mattea Antrup in a hip cast for 20 weeks, she became familiar with Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.
During the 4-H Club member's stay there, she roomed with several children who were less fortunate. Among them were burn victims and cancer patients.
"We weren’t there long, but when we were there, she had her eyes opened to kids and life experiences that aren't pleasant,” said Dawnell Antrup, Mattea’s mother. “She had many questions about why the kids didn't go home.
“She found out about kids who had never even been able to leave the hospital. She didn’t see many of the kids with their parents and realized that those parents had to work to pay for the doctors to be able to fix their children.”
The Lakewood Elementary School fifth grader decided she could do something about it through 4-H and her experience selling a pig at the 2012 fair.
“I learned about caring through 4-H, by giving people hope and not letting them down,” Mattea said. “Through my experience I knew that I did (4-H) fair and how I received money. I thought that it would be good to donate the money to those that need it.”
She decided to name one of her pigs Helen DeVos, sell it at this summer's fair and give the proceeds to the parents of hospitalized children.
Normally, a hog sells for $2 to $3 a pound. Mattea's 242-pounder raised $28 a pound, resulting in more than $6,600 for the hospital, which she gave to the hospital in October.
"I think this money will make the kids feel better and happier and forget about what they have gone through," Mattea said.
The buyer paid forward Mattea's generosity by donating the pig to Love INC., a West Michigan group that feeds families.
“The wishes I think they will be getting with this money is, if they live really far and their parents don't have money to drive back and forth, maybe this money could be a gas card for the parents to come and see them,” Mattea said.