Full Circle Philanthropy: Felix Gets a Big Surprise

Ali Kagawa
Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Last month, we shared a sweet story of how one of our patients, 15-year-old Felix from Castro Valley, donated his hard-earned savings to support front line workers during the COVID-19 crisis. He wrote, "I really thank you for all that you have done for me and my family for several years now. I have decided to stop saving up for a Nintendo Switch and donate to your cause out of my earnings from being a math tutor." 

When Heather Packard, RN, a nurse at Stanford Health Care, saw Felix's story, she was so touched by his generosity to support caregivers like her. She shared the story with a friend and former Packard Children's nurse, Deepa Kurup, RN, and the two devised a plan. They were going to make Felix's wish come true.

"I just think any kiddo who raises money to buy electronics in this day and age, and then gives the money as a donation to help front line workers instead is truly amazing," Heather said. "I have a 12-year-old and I know how important these gaming things are to him. Then to hear that his friends have all had one and were participating in school gaming events and he could not, and he STILL chose to give his money away to help others … wow." 

Heather and Deepa decided they wanted to surprise Felix with his Nintendo Switch—but they weren't the only ones with the idea! Anonymous donors were also touched by Felix's selflessness and reached out to help. When they learned that two nurses planned to purchase the Nintendo Switch themselves, the anonymous donors immediately delivered the Nintendo Switch to our office with a note that read: "Please tell the nurses they are doing enough."

“The anonymous donors reaching out to help us was incredible,” says Deepa. “It was an example of how the entire community is coming together to support front line workers, and we couldn’t be more grateful.”

Heather and Deepa completed the surprise with a Nintendo gift card to purchase games, and set out to plan a gift drop-off and video call. Felix’s mom, Cynthia, got in on the plan and met discreetly to accept the gift prior to the call.

“Felix, we are just so grateful that you’d think of us. Your donation is keeping us safe with PPE, which in turn keeps more of our patients safe,” Heather told Felix on the call. “So to thank you for your selflessness, Deepa and I, along with anonymous donors, wanted to give you a special gift.”

Cynthia came into frame on the screen and presented a stunned Felix with a bright red gift bag.

“What is this? This is heavy,” Felix said as he pulled out his very own Nintendo Switch. The computer wasn’t frozen—the teen was just utterly speechless.

"Every dollar counts to help the families and also the healthcare professionals who need supplies to take care of our patients,” Deepa explained. “With COVID-19 the demand for help is definitely higher and I am so grateful to see that kind-hearted people like you, Felix, are able to see the need and able to help in whatever way they can. You are a HERO!”

A shocked Felix could hardly compose his response in that moment. After signing off the call, Felix wrote:

“I could hardly believe what was happening when my mom revealed the surprise gift. I really appreciate the thought put in and am still surprised at what my small donation could mean to the hospital. I am grateful that the hospital is working hard to slow the spread of the virus while treating ordinary patients. I hope you can continue to keep up the good work and especially stay safe with the protective equipment you need.”

We are so grateful to all of our donors and supporters, especially during this unprecedented time. On behalf of our entire Packard Children’s community, thank you for your donations, fundraising efforts, #PackardProud messages, and of course, staying home to keep our community safe. We’re all in this together.

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