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Friendship bracelets provide hope for the future

Friendship Bracelets
Posted at 3:30 AM, Dec 23, 2020

It was a simple act that has impacted the nation.

"My mom was watching the news a lot," Hayley Orlinsky explained. "I overhead that the doctors and nurses were running out of masks and PPE equipment for them to treat people with coronavirus."

The 7-year-old decided she wanted to use her time at home to help raise money for the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, where she had been a patient.

"I knew I wanted to help, but I didn't know how," Hayley said. "I went up to my room and made these friendship bracelets. I told my mom I wanted to sell them and raise money for one of the hospitals."

The project started off small.

"Originally, I thought it would keep her busy for a few hours or days, and we're going ten months," Lori Orlinsky, Hayley's mom, said. "She's made over 9,000 bracelets. She's had help from the Girl Scouts, friends, and family. She's always looking at ways to up sell people so she can make more money for the hospital."

Hayley said she had a goal in mind.

She wanted to sell $200 worth of bracelets.

"I've raised over $24,000."

Hayley's efforts caught the eye of Acadiana author Alysson Bourque.

"What Hayley is doing is a symbol of hope and good will in a time where we all feel disconnected," Bourque said. "It makes us feel connected."

Bourque, author of the Alycat series, donated Alycat charms to Hayley so she could add them to her bracelets.

"As young as she is...she is an inspiration to adults and children," Bourque said. "You can do anything you can put your mind to. We discount what children can do. If we just listen to their ideas they can rule the world."

It was a simple act of kindness that has gone a long way.

A seven year old, rubber bands, and a vision to connect people from across the United States--a symbol of hope for the future.