It is not your average seven year old who is thinking about philanthropy and giving back in the memory of a loved one. Wise beyond her years, Abigail (Abby) Bucoviz, donated her birthday money and funds raised selling squash, totalling $45, to the Royal Inland Hospital Foundation in August 2019. “I sold squash, spaghetti and acorn, from our garden at a stand in front of our garage. Some people bought the squash while others just gave money because they knew it was going to the hospital,” Abby explained.
The idea started after speaking with her parents regarding the RIHF Holiday 2018 letter, which featured the Velestuk family and their premature son, Sebastian. Liza and Curtis, Abby’s parents, explained to Abby that she was also born premature at 3lbs 13 oz., and that the staff at RIH had saved her life. Abby responded by exclaiming, “I wanna give them my money so that they can save a kid!”
Abby was born prematurely due to complications that Liza had during the pregnancy including a tear in the sac and cholestasis, where the normal flow of bile into the gallbladder is inhibited, causing an increase of bile acids in the liver and bloodstream, resulting in severe itching. This condition can be dangerous for the fetus and because Liza had a severe case, the decision was made to deliver Abby before full-term. After her birth, Abby developed an infection, which led to her spending two months in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU). “The nurses in the NICU were great and really supported the parents,” Liza explained. “The atmosphere was so great and we became friends with the staff.”
Abby also donated the money in memory of a special person. Curtis’s goddaughter, Kieran, had passed away a few years ago and would have celebrated her birthday on August 12. Abby decided to give her donation on August 14 in memory of Kieran.
“I feel great donating and am thinking about doing the same next year,” Abby concluded.