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Kindness Campaign Juiced Up by Dracut Girl

September 25, 2018

DRACUT -- A Dracut girl whose philanthropic lemonade stand has benefited Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center in Boston is a finalist in the Mary Jo Brown Foundation’s 2018 Kindness Campaign.

If she wins, Julia Degnan will be awarded a trip for four to Disney World.

This past July, 10-year-old Julia set up her second annual stand at her aunt’s home in Dracut to raise money for toys for the hospital’s Neely Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit. Between sales from the lemonade stand and donations that poured in from elsewhere, a total of $4,580 was raised.

“This year will be our fifth Kindness Campaign and we are continually amazed at the incredible acts of kindness by the children who are nominated,” Sharon Bosse Macone, secretary of the foundation, wrote in an email to a Sun reporter. “Each year we seek nominations of children under the age of 18 who have gone above and beyond to make the world a better place through their altruism.”

Early last year, Julia stayed overnight at Floating Hospital for Children for surgery to have an atrium septal defect closure on her heart, and had to be readmitted later after developing a blood clot on her atrium. The only spaces available at the time were in the Neely Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Unit and it was there that Julia found a limited selection of toys for children.

Julia wanted to bring more entertainment to the children in the unit, so she held her first lemonade stand and raised $1,200 to purchase Kindles for the child patients’ use and also gave donated toys.

Established in 2012, the Mary Jo Brown Foundation in Wilmington supports children, families, and the military, and rewards children through its annual Kindness Campaign.

“I’m just so proud of her,” Julia’s mother, Bethany Degnan, said Monday. “Very excited for her to be a part of that.”

Bethany said she received a packet in the mail from the foundation about a month ago with information on what they do and of their Kindness Campaign. She said they read Julia’s story in The Sun and encouraged her to enter Julia for consideration.

After being officially notified of becoming a finalist, Bethany said Julia was all smiles and very excited. On Oct. 14, Macone said Julia and the other three finalists will be introduced at the foundation’s 7th Annual Indoor Luau Fundraiser at the Saugus Elks Lodge, 401 Main St., Saugus. The finalists will each receive a $250 Visa gift card, framed certificate, and a personalized book. Then, the grand prize winner will be announced.

Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.

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