Saturday, April 25, 2020

Alpharetta 8-Year-Old Raises More Than $7,000 for CDC Foundation; Inspired by '#KidsTogether: The Nickelodeon Town Hall' Special

Alpharetta 8-year-old raises more than $7,000 for CDC Foundation

Alani Thorns anticipated the trip of a young lifetime for her eighth birthday — to New York City, a place her mother has visited and told her about many times. When COVID-19 (coronavirus) forced the holiday to be canceled, she planned a sleepover with friends. The virus got that too, so she reverted to Plan C, which was spending her spring break creating artwork to raise funds for the CDC Foundation.

The goal was to raise $800 selling 100 pieces for $8 a pop. But at the end of the week, and thanks to a dollar-for-dollar match from Lysol, she raised $7,350, with support coming from as far away as Chicago and Los Angeles. The money will go toward providing supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE) and research funding to the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Thorns, a precocious girl, says she hopes the money she raised will eventually help pave the way for an end to the virus.

“There’s a whole new world we’re about to discover, and kids can help discover that new world so we can all begin enjoying it together,” Thorns, who recently moved from Lawrenceville to Alpharetta, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “I want to have sleepovers again like in the old days. I can’t go a week without seeing my friends or without playing with them or doing something with them at least. I need to be able to hug them.”

Her mother, Amanda Moore, is a Chicago transplant who formerly worked at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and currently works in marketing for Honda Power Equipment. After coordinating the plan with her daughter, she made a social media post advertising the fundraiser.

“We put it together after our prayers and said, ‘This is what we want to do,’” said Moore. “‘Here’s the link, and everything is doubled [by Lysol]. Alani said she wanted to give the money to the CDC to help all the people who are sick, and so that we can go back outside and play.’”

The post took off.

By the time they woke up the next morning, a few hundred dollars was already raised, and Moore told her daughter she better start making some art. The $800 goal was surpassed by lunchtime as the original message got shared and forwarded. Some donated the requested $8, others made contributions of $300 or more. Among those helping out was Chicago Bears Pro Bowl safety Eddie Jackson and Los Angeles-based Love & Hip Hop star Sincere Show, who was diagnosed with the virus in late March and has since recovered.

Thorns, in turn, created 55 pieces of artwork, all original, during the break from attending school online, from drawings to scenes, sketches and abstract works.

“It was very hard actually,” said Thorns. “The only thing I’d do differently next time is I’d think of something like donations instead of pictures because I have a lot of toys that I’d like to donate, and pictures are really hard to do.”

Thorns was inspired by watching #KidsTogether: The Nickelodeon Town Hall, which aimed to provide a kid’s view of life amid the COVID-19 pandemic and featured a child selling artwork. Another inspiration was Moore’s good friend and coworker Davis Adams, who fell ill with the virus in March and needed nearly two weeks to recover.

Moore couldn’t communicate with Adams for several days while he fought the illness, reaching a fever of 105 at peak and visiting the hospital twice. This was despite being in good physical shape and just a few days past his 33rd birthday.

“That’s what put this on our hearts in the beginning,” said Moore. “We knew someone personally who had been affected and was struggling really hard.

”Before coronavirus, Moore and Adams shared a special greeting of tapping index fingers, a ritual Adams describes as being “almost like the ET touch.” On Adams’ last day in the office before going home sick, Moore wasn’t there. She wonders what would have happened if she was.

One the other end, Adams didn’t learn about the fundraiser until he regained health and started reconnecting with the outside world. While fighting the virus he slept upward of 20 hours a day, and shares his experience as a reason it’s crucial to follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines. But once he did learn of the fundraiser, he was moved by what he heard.

“Amanda is such a good mom, you can tell from Alani’s choices the kind of young woman she is raising,” said Adams. “Alani used her birthday to raise money for good. I thought that was crazy and amazing.”Moore still plans to take her daughter to New York City one day, but she’s glad that she made the most of a tough situation.

“I couldn’t be more proud that, even though she’s making sacrifices, her heart is still in the right place,” she said. “She’s still thinking of what she can do for other people.”

Awesome work, Alani!

Photos: AJC.

More Nick: Nickelodeon Launches #KidsTogether--A Global Prosocial Initiative to Help Kids and Families Stay Informed and Engaged With Activities; Noggin to be Offered Free to Kids in Need in Partnership with National Head Start Association and First Book
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