We’ve all had bad days and know how challenging they can be. For those of us with health issues, every day can be rough, and those bad days become even more difficult. Well, put your pity pants aside and check out what these kid entrepreneurs have accomplished. Not only do these kidtrepreneurs have their own health challenges they are dealing with, but instead of becoming victims, they took their health challenges and turned them into an opportunity to help others. Get emotionally prepared to be inspired!
The Original Inspiration
We’ve all heard of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – the little girl who was diagnosed with neuroblastoma when she was just shy of her first birthday. Alex began Alex’s Lemonade Stand because when she got out of the hospital, she “wanted to have a lemonade stand to give the money to doctors to allow them to help other kids, like they helped me.” Alex passed away at eight years-old, having raised over one million dollars for cancer.
Alex wasn’t the first kid entrepreneur with a health challenge who wanted to do something to help others. But in my humble opinion, she is certainly the most influential for this new generation of kids. Not only does her her foundation continue raising money to help and inspire other children with cancer ($150 million to date), but her legacy has inspired so many other children with health challenges to become kid entrepreneurs of their own.
Note: I’ve written many articles. Too many to count. I pour my heart into every single word I write and bring to you, my beloved Pink Fortitude family. This article is hands down my all-time favorite. Researching these kids’ stories and seeing their smiles… I can’t tell you how many times I shed a few emotional tears while writing this. If just one of their stories touches you, my job is done. Be prepared to smile and get inspired.
PS – all information was taken directly from each website.
Kayla Cares 4 Kids – Kayla Abramowitz
Kayla Abramowitz is the Founder and CKO (Chief Kid Officer) of Kayla Cares 4 Kids, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. She began the organization, at age 11, by collecting entertainment and educational items to donate to children’s hospitals in an effort to help children feel better. The now 15-year-old came up with the idea after extended hospital stays of her own, in addition to her 12-year-old brother Ethan’s numerous hospital trips, due to chronic illness. Kayla has Crohn’s Disease, Juvenile Arthritis and Eosinophilic Colitis. Ethan has Juvenile Arthritis, Eosinophilic Esophagitis and Motility Disorders.
At 11 years old, Kayla was too young to volunteer in children’s hospitals, and wondered, “What can I do to help?”
“I was looking through our DVDs and saw some ‘Thomas the Train’ movies. I thought, we don’t watch these anymore, so maybe we could give them to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital. I asked my mom about it and she said that was a great idea!”
That’s how it all started in March 2013. She named the project “Kayla Cares 4 Kids,” enlisting the help of her family. Her initial goal was to collect 100 DVDs to donate to Nicklaus Children’s Hospital in Miami, until a newspaper article about her in the Palm Beach Post brought in an overwhelming response of donations. She has now delivered items to every children’s hospital and Ronald McDonald House in the country!
With more than 15,000 items collected and donated to date to every children’s hospital and Ronald McDonald House in the country, Kayla is working as hard as ever to “Helping Sick Kids Feel Better One Smile At A Time!”
My Teal Ticket – Katie Parkins
Katie Parkins was first diagnosed with food allergies when she ate a cashew at the age of two. After her reaction, her parents took her to an allergist where results revealed that she was severely allergic to tree nuts and sesame seeds. She subsequently learned that she has additional life threatening allergies.
Katie designed MyTealTicket for the 15 million people with food allergies an opportunity to eat out with ease. MyTealTicket is a restaurant order form that helps people with food allergies have a safe and enjoyable dining experience. The teal color stands out from all of the other restaurant order tickets, which makes it easier for the chef as he or she prepares your meal.
The front side includes 9 checkmark boxes next to the 8 most common allergens. The ninth box is marked “other,” so you can personalize the form to your specific food allergy needs. The back side includes space for your waitress or waiter to write down your order.
Mark your allergens before placing your order. This will assure that your allergens are properly noted, and makes placing your order easier for both you and your waiter. You may then have the waiter write down your order on the back of the MyTealTicket, and kindly ask him or her to give it to the Chef. Restaurant managers, waiters, waitresses, and chefs find it helpful because the allergens are clearly listed which ensures that proper accommodations are used while preparing and transporting your meal.
Gluten Free Cookie Gift Box – Carolyn Sampson
Carolyn Sampson started Reason To Bake not only to support everyone’s gluten-free lifestyle, but to inspire young entrepreneurs with intellectual disabilities to pursue their business dreams. Reason to Bake is an artisan small-batch bakery in the North Carolina Appalachian Mountains, specializing in gluten-free, all-natural cookies that are freshly made from scratch and available to ship around the country. Their mission is to provide delicious baked goods for a gluten-free lifestyle, while growing a successful company that hires and trains intellectually disabled adults.
Reason to Bake launched with two goals in mind:
“First, we are committed to training and hiring intellectually disabled adults as part of our growing company. We believe everyone deserves an opportunity to become the best version of themselves that they can…creating a safe environment where there are no limits to what they can learn and accomplish. We want to be that company that says “Yes, you can!”
Second, we knew the value of a gluten-free lifestyle but couldn’t find anything on the shelves to meet our standards. We wanted cookies that EVERYONE would love to eat. So we decided we would just have to create our own. Our Spicy Ginger,Chocolate Chip and Cranberry Oatmeal cookies meet the highest standards and we know you won’t be disappointed.”
Kangaroo Cups – Lily Born
While Lily Born herself does not have a health challenge, she is totally worthy of being on this list. When Lily was 8, she noticed that her grandfather, who has Parkinson’s disease, was often spilling his drinks due to his condition.
Like many other problem-solving kid entrepreneurs, Lily saw an inconvenience in her family member’s life, and set out for a solution. Using moldable plastic, she made her grandfather a plastic cup that didn’t tip and was comfortable to hold. A year later, she made a ceramic version of the same cup for her father so that he could avoid coffee-spill disasters on his computer.
After more and more innovation, the original Kangaroo Cup is now the featured mainstay of Lily’s company, Imagiroo. Lily and The Kangaroo Cup also teach small business owners that their innovation doesn’t have to be a ground-breaking invention. It can be as simple—but as ingenious—as a stable plastic cup.
Now a seasoned 13-year-old, she has sold tens of thousands of the cups all over the world. Lily is proud to use part of the profits from her Kangaroo Cups to support STEM education for young girls and to donate cups to not-for-profit organizations that help adults and kids with mobility issues.
The BullyBøx – Brandon Boynton
Brandon Boynton was bullied, physically and mentally, for being different. He was contemplating suicide. Seeking justice but not wanting to invite retaliation, he anonymously reported his tormentors by slipping a written complaint about them into a bully box, a wall-mounted mailbox-style repository intended to be a safe place for students to inform on bullies under the cloak of anonymity. Using his school’s bully box got the budding software developer thinking he could design a better one, an app-based bullying prevention and anonymous reporting tool that he thought kids would be more likely to use — and not make fun of.
At the age of 14, Brandon Boynton founded Most Beastly Studios, with their premier app, The BullyBøx. Schools pay $499 per year to enable their students to use the app. Some 100,000 students in 22 U.S. states, and in New Zealand, Spain, France and the United Kingdom, now use The BullyBox.
The BullyBøx is a mobile application, available on iPhone and Android platforms, designed to allow students to safely and anonymously report acts of bullying or other school-safety concerns. The BullyBøx provides a “voice” to those being victimized, as well as empowering up-standers, while simultaneously allowing reporters to refrain from becoming directly involved in the incident. The application is available for free download on the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store.
PS – if this wasn’t enough, Brandon also received a Congressional award for his app The Curfew Buddy.
Stitches by Charlotte – Charlotte Gould
Charlotte Gould was born with a cleft lip and palate. She’s had several surgeries on her lip to create the smile that you see today. Her smile has changed her life and she wants to help other children smile, especially those needing surgeries. That is why Charlotte created Stitches by Charlotte, a new line of surgery companion dolls.
Charlotte began this idea when she was 5, and now designs, sews, and sells each doll, then gifts the proceeds to cleft charities.
Each Stitches by Charlotte doll comes packaged with kid-friendly instructions and tools to add “stitches” in the likeness of each child’s surgery. Surgical teams, nurses, and parents can help the patient add stitches and alleviate the worries of surgery.
According to Charlotte, “I truly believe a single smile can change the world.” Yes, Charlotte, it can.
Positive – Paige Rawl
Paige Rawl has been HIV positive since birth, but growing up, she never felt like her illness defined her. On an unremarkable day in middle school, she disclosed to a friend her HIV-positive status—and within hours the bullying began. From that moment forward, every day was like walking through a minefield. Paige was never sure when or from where the next text, taunt, or hateful message would come. Her classmates called her cruel nicknames, such as PAIDS. Her soccer coach even made a joke about how her HIV status could help the team. And the school administrators let her down by not protecting her.
One night, desperate for escape, Paige found herself in her bathroom staring at a bottle of sleeping pills.
After leaving her middle school, she decided to take a stand and started to speak out sharing her story. At the age of fourteen, Paige was granted special permission to become the youngest person to ever be certified through the American Red Cross as an HIV/AIDS Educator. She even pleaded to congress in her home state of Indiana and helped pass the Anti-bullying Bill #1423 that was effective July 1, 2013.
Paige wrote Positive: A Memoir, an astonishing memoir for the untold number of children whose lives have been touched by bullying. Positive is a must-read for teens, their parents, educators, and administrators—a brave, visceral work that will save lives and resonate deeply.
Paige Rawl is currently a college student who is working towards getting a degree in entrepreneurship and business. She is also working towards starting her own organization for HIV education and anti-bullying advocacy. She plans to continue to travel and speak to reduce the stigma towards HIV/AIDS and be an advocate against bullying.
Support These Kid Entrepreneurs
I’ll leave you with a quote from Paige Rawl and Positive, “It’s a complicated and sometimes sad and seriously beautiful world we live in. There’s plenty of work to be done.” These kids have only just begun.
If any of these kid entrepreneurs and their stories or products inspire you, I strongly encourage you to check out their websites and support them. Let’s raise each other up and show these young kid entrepreneurs that anything is possible. No matter what.
Picture is me (in the middle) with Kayla’s mom and Paige at the WEGO Awards Gala.
Are you Inspired?
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Love, hugs, and ain’t no stopping us now.HERE.