Merrillville girl’s hospital fundraiser kicks off
By Karen Caffarini Post-Tribune correspondent July 9, 2012 4:16PM
Hailey Perryman, 11, (center) pulls a red wagon as she and friends make her annual walk to collect donations for Riley Children's Hospital in her Merrillville, Ind. neighborhood Monday July 9, 2012. Perryman will also have a Kool-Aid stand from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Friday. | Stephanie Dowell~Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 10, 2012 9:48AM
MERRILLVILLE — Now in its fifth year, Hailey Perryman’s Change for a Change wagon walk fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children was a familiar sight for some people in the Young America subdivision, who were ready with money in hand as Hailey and her group passed by on Monday.
Kathy Sturm emptied out her purse and her dad, John Evion, threw all his pennies into the wagon pulled by 11-year-old Hailey.
“They come by here every year ... She’s an amazing kid,” said Sturm as the group of 15 kids and adults walked down the street, all wearing Riley T-shirts donated by the gift shop and escorted by a Merrillville fire truck.
Evion had a special reason for giving to the hospital. He said he had a cochlear implant done there a number of years ago and still has a photo of the doctor who did the procedure.
Pam Cullers saw the walkers passing by and ran into her house. She came out with a $20 bill for the cause.
“I was in Riley’s when I was a little girl. I had pneumonia three months after I was born. They saved my life,” Cullers said.
Not everyone who contributed had a connection to Riley’s. Some just wanted to give money to the hospital that treats children regardless if the family is able to pay. Others were impressed by Hailey, who held her first fundraiser for the hospital when she was 6 years old.
“I knew they were coming. I stopped here to give them some money,” said Jamee Slathar, who was waiting for the group in her truck with daughter Rylee, 5, near Salk Elementary School.
After the walk, the group headed off to Merrillville Fire Station No. 2, on Taft Street, just north of U.S. 30, where Hailey would man a Kool-Aid stand Monday afternoon and again from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, with all proceeds going to Riley Children’s Foundation.
“I think we did pretty good today,” Hailey said as she took a short break under the shade from the tree in father Brian Perryman’s front yard following the hour-walk in the blazing heat.
Hailey’s goal this year is to raise $6,000 from the wagon walk, Kool-Aid stand and bake sale, silent auction taking place at the fire station on Friday and mail-in donations. That would be $500 more than last year and would put her total raised for the hospital at $20,000.