Tuesday, October 23, 2018
News Roundup

Safety Harbor girl's birthday gift: Making others smile

In the lobby, a boy with his arm in a sling toddled away with a toy tiger.

In the prosthetics wing, a curly-haired brunet in a wheelchair opened her arms wide as she rejoiced to her mom about her new "My Little Pony" puzzle.

In the physical therapy ward, 7-year-old Chelsea Moore lifted herself onto her elbows to peer from her hospital bed into Madison Jayanna's bag of goodies. The Lakeland girl's shy eyes creased into a smile as she pulled out a wide-eyed black penguin she quickly named Waddles.

"Look Mama," Chelsea said after hugging Madison, who visited Shriners Hospitals for Children in Tampa to pass out toys on her birthday Thursday.

"Mama, this toy makes me feel better," said Chelsea, a day out of surgery on her right leg, which had been mangled in a riding mower accident five years ago. She rubbed the stuffed animal's fur, distracted from the pain as a therapist maneuvered her limb. "He has blue eyes," she said. "They're so sparkly."

Chelsea was among about two dozen patients and their siblings who received hand-delivered toys and hugs from Madison, a child author-turned-philanthropist from Safety Harbor.

The Safety Harbor Elementary third-grader, along with parents Sid and Justine Jayanna, run a nonprofit called Giving Foundation for Children. Since December, they've raised thousands of dollars for children with special needs, published Madison's Tripp McQueen fantasy tale based on a 4-year-old Georgia boy with a brain injury and are working on a second book about the everyday lives of mothers raising disabled children.

Several weeks ago, Madison approached her parents with the idea of a "pay-it-forward" campaign to donate toys on her eighth birthday. The family said they chose Shriners, which since 1985 has offered specialized treatment to more than 50,000 children up to age 18 regardless of ability to pay, because they like the hospital's mission.

"It's so meaningful to have a child like Madison, who for her birthday wanted to give back. It really brightens these patients' days who are going through surgery or other medical treatment," said hospital spokeswoman Jamie Santillo. "It just lifts their spirits and to see someone their own age giving back like that is amazing."

Madison said one of her birthday wishes — "to make a smile on kids' faces" — came true.

But she has another: To galvanize others, just as she was by the news story of a New Tampa preteen, who years after receiving a "pajama buddy" from a nurse before surgery, continues to donate toys to help ease the fears of young hospital patients.

Her message appears to catching on.

Madison's gesture was "really thoughtful," a beaming Tiffany Davis, 10, said, clutching a blue dolphin. "I feel really inspired by it."

Contact Keyonna Summers at [email protected] or (727) 445-4153. Follow @KeyonnaSummers.

Comments
Canadian Mounties assist in child porn case against Hillsborough Community College professor

Canadian Mounties assist in child porn case against Hillsborough Community College professor

TAMPA — A Hillsborough Community College math professor is facing child pornography charges after federal agents said he exchanged illicit images online, according to a criminal complaint.Howard Joseph Vorder Bruegge III was arrested Tuesday at his e...
Updated: 28 minutes ago
District swimming notebook: Lofty expectations for a stacked Plant girls team

District swimming notebook: Lofty expectations for a stacked Plant girls team

TAMPA — Plant is back in the pool and looking as strong as ever.Maybe stronger than ever.Which is saying a lot considering the Panther girls finished as state runners-up the past two years, losing to only to one of the best teams in the country...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region volleyball: Bishop McLaughlin handles its business

SPRING HILL — Not too many playoff volleyball matches clock in at under an hour, but Bishop McLaughlin is not like too many volleyball teams.The Hurricanes' perfect record was not in the slightest jeopardy Tuesday night as they rolled past visi...
Updated: 1 hour ago

Region volleyball: Calvary Christian cruises into region final

CLEARWATER — Calvary Christian made short of work of Maitland Orangewood Christian in Tuesday night's Class 4A region semifinal in a 25-12, 25-20, 25-9 win. The Warriors (19-7) will host Shorecrest next Tuesday. They defeated the Char...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Hernando school board affirms firing of ex-superintendent Lori Romano

Hernando school board affirms firing of ex-superintendent Lori Romano

After the former superintendent appealed her firing, the board had to decide whether it acted properly back in June.
Updated: 3 hours ago
Deputies release name of Tampa mother and son killed in weekend double homicide

Deputies release name of Tampa mother and son killed in weekend double homicide

TAMPA — Deputies have released the names of the mother and her 10-year-old son who were fatally shot in a double homicide on Sunday.Stephanie Ann Willis, 34, and son Ricky Willis were killed in their home at Mariner’s Cove apartments by Willis’ live-...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Man fatally shoots stepfather, then himself in Tampa apartment, deputies say

Man fatally shoots stepfather, then himself in Tampa apartment, deputies say

TAMPA — A woman concerned that she hadn’t heard from her husband came home Tuesday to find that her adult son had killed the man and then himself, authorities said.Juan Luis Hernandez II, 30, shot himself after first killing his stepfather, Michael E...
Updated: 4 hours ago

Updated: 4 hours ago
Bucs rookies embrace ‘being a kid again’ at community event

Bucs rookies embrace ‘being a kid again’ at community event

TAMPA — M.J. Stewart proudly wore a pink feather boa picked out for him by a new friend. Carlton Davis and Ronald Jones wore sparkly party hats. Alex Cappa walked around with a star sticker on his forehead. Shaun Wilson and Jordan Whitehead com...
Updated: 4 hours ago
There were two fatal wrong-way crashes last weekend. Should we be worried?

There were two fatal wrong-way crashes last weekend. Should we be worried?

A Pinellas Park man made a U-turn on the Howard Frankland Bridge on Friday, driving in the wrong direction for several miles before crashing into a van. The wrong-way driver died at the scene.Two days later, a Seffner man with his headlights off drov...
Updated: 5 hours ago