Second-graders put glitter on paper hearts, pasted on stars, fluffed up tissue paper, drew bright smiles on colorful happy faces – all to bring some love and joy to a little girl lying in a hospital room.
The children, students in Melinda McCormick’s second-grade classroom at Johnsville Elementary School, were decorating paper hearts on a snowy spring day last month.
They were determined to help three-and-a-half-year-old June Rudd’s parents meet their goal of having 20,000 paper hearts adorning the walls of her Children’s Hospital room by June 1.
June has spent many days – even weeks – in the hospital suffering from complications of a rare disease known as Aicardi Syndrome.
When she was diagnosed with the disease as an infant, June’s parents, Adam and Kati Rudd, were told she may not live to see her first birthday. She will never be able to walk or talk or do anything on her own.
But in her tragically abbreviated lifetime, little June has shared unlimited love with those around her. Adam and Kati want to show her she is surrounded by that kind of love, too.
And so, the Hearts for June project was born and a story about it was broadcast on a local television news program.
When McCormick and fellow Johnsville teachers saw the story, they immediately thought it would be a great service project for their students. Pretty soon, paper hearts were being made by the dozen.
In addition to McCormick’s second-grade class, Johnsville’s kindergarten and first-grade students are also making hearts for June.
In all, 14 Johnsville classes are making hearts and sending love to little June.
“We wanted June to have some hearts to hang up for spring. The students are very compassionate and are determined to cover the walls for June,” said McCormick.
McCormick sent 100 hearts – the first batch of her students’ hearts – to June on March 28. She gave her students permission to continue making hearts and promised to send them before June 1.
“Other classes are making them and will all mail them individually as a class,” McCormick said.
Her students plan to keep in touch with June, she said.
Anyone who would like to send a heart to June can do so. Just cut the heart out of paper that measures four inches by four inches and decorate it however you’d like.
The Rudds want June to know who sent the hearts, so be sure to sign it with your name and the town where you live.
Then send the hearts to June Rudd, P.O. Box 992, Anoka, MN 55303.
Sue Austreng is at firstname.lastname@example.org