From The Recorder & Times in Brockville, ON, Canada:
From her hospital bed hundreds of kilometres away, a very sick little girl is sending "a great big thank you" back home.
Hannah Walker, the 11-year-old Prescott girl who's awaiting a heart transplant in Toronto, sent that message Sunday after receiving dozens of "Hearts for Hannah" signed by area residents touched by her story.
"She read every single one of them and she was just so happy," said Sheila Boardman, manager of the South Grenville Rangers bantam house league team that's organizing fundraising efforts for the family.
Walker's dad, Rob, is a coach on the team and her brother, Daniel, plays for them.
"She was thrilled. She said to tell everyone a great big thank you from Hannah," said Boardman, who spent Sunday with Walker and her family, including Hannah's mom Shelley Saunders, at the Hospital for Sick Children.
"It just breaks your heart to know that this little girl is in this situation and yet she's so grateful that everyone back home is thinking of her."
Boardman said she gave Hannah dozens of signed hearts pasted into a scrapbook, but has hundreds more to give her later.
"We didn't want to overwhelm her all at once," said Boardman, noting: "We've cut out 800 hearts and I think we're going to have to cut out more."
Boardman also gave Hannah and her parents South Grenville Rangers team shirts signed by all of the players.
"She said: 'You tell the boys that I'm going to wear this shirt to school when I get back home - even though it goes down to my knees,'" said Boardman.
A Grade 6 student at St. Joseph Catholic School in Prescott, Hannah has been at Sick Kids awaiting a new heart since Jan. 8 after she became suddenly ill.
She has been diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, a disease that inflames the heart muscle and leaves it unable to beat properly and pump blood normally.
News of her plight has led to an outpouring of support for the family.
Boardman said about $3,000 has been raised to help Hannah's parents with the cost of staying in Toronto at their daughter's bedside.
"The bills are piling up and the funds people have raised so far are going to go to a wonderful cause," she said, stressing: "They are going to need more." Read the full story.
(Donations can be made by cheque at TD Canada Trust branches in Prescott and Brockville in care of Sheila Boardman in trust for the Walker family. Donors can also contact Boardman at 613-246-2712 or 613-658-5905.)
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