Girl, 7, collects 13,000 boxes of crayons for children's hospital

Posted November 9, 2016

A hospital can be a bleak place for those stuck inside, so one little girl decided to add a little color in a unique way. (Deseret Photo)

CLEVELAND — A hospital can be a bleak place for those stuck inside, so one little girl decided to add a little color in a unique way.

Ella Tryon, 7, was diagnosed with a severe food allergy back in July and was stuck in her bed at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland since her treatment required a feeding tube, Today reported.

While resting in her bed, Ella decided she wanted to color a rainbow, but when she sent her mother in search of supplies, she was disappointed to learn that the hospital’s crayon supply was sorely lacking.

“She loves to color, but the crayons were broken and thrown in a drawer,” Ella’s mom, Jackie Tryon told Today. “Not all the colors were there, and I told her the next time we had to come to the hospital, we would bring a few boxes with us to donate them.”

But Ella was determined to return to the hospital with more than just a few boxes. If other kids wanted to color a rainbow to brighten their stays, Ella wanted to make sure nothing would stand in their way.

“She wanted every child who was admitted to have their own box of crayons that they could keep forever,” Tryon told Today.

So the family began to reach out to friends, family and church members. In just three weeks, Ella had more than 1,000 boxes of crayons for her project, Today reported. Local businesses caught wind of the effort, and Tryon’s Facebook campaign garnered more and more attention.

With each donation, Ella’s aspirations grew.

“After we collected 1,000 boxes, she changed her goal to 5,000 boxes,” Tryon said. “Then, she said she wanted to collect 10,000 boxes by Christmas.”

Ella didn’t have to wait until December to meet her new goal. By October, she’d collected 13,000 boxes of crayons and required the help of a semitrailer to deliver them to the hospital.

“People think that kids can’t make a difference,” Tryon told Today. “But she did. She made over 13,000 differences.”

As if Ella wasn’t busy enough, her mother made sure that her daughter expressed gratitude for all the generosity she’s received. Ella decided to show her thanks in the form of 13,000 hand-written notes to each crayon donor — each one bearing a rainbow.

“Ella’s selfless act is an example to all of us about how unconditional giving can create such a great impact,” Rainbow Hospital’s president, Patti DePompei, told Today. “We can’t thank Ella and the community enough for their continuous generosity that helps us deliver the most positive hospital experience to our patients and families.”

Ella’s next goal — collecting 5,000 crayon boxes for St. Jude’s Hospital. Once she’s met that milestone, her work is far from finished.

“Then 1,000 boxes to each children’s hospital in the United States,” Tryon told Today.

Jessica Ivins is a content manager for and contributor to the Motherhood Matters section.


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