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Brooklyn raises money for Mary Free Bed to honor her grandma

Brooklyn Hammer is just 8 years old, but she already knows what she wants to be when she grows up.

“She’s going to either U of M, MSU or GVSU to become a physical therapist,” said her mother, Sarah.

While that may seem like a lofty goal for a second-grader, Brooklyn’s familiar with the field. She often visited her grandmother, Marsha Hammer, when she was a patient at Mary Free Bed during the summer of 2017.

“Brooklyn fell in love with Mary Free Bed,” Sarah said. “She thought all of the nurses and therapists were very nice and very good at their jobs. During this experience with her grandma, she realized that when she was older she would like to be a physical therapist and hopefully work at Mary Free Bed one day.”

Sadly, Brooklyn’s grandmother passed away on Feb. 13. To honor her memory, Brooklyn decided to raise money to donate to Mary Free Bed. Over the course of two months, she did extra chores around the house, talked with family and friends about her desire to help others and donated money from her own piggy bank to the efforts. She put the money in a pickle jar with a ‘Mary Free Bed’ label on it. She raised $428.64.

“Then she got an assignment for school to perform a random act of kindness,” Sarah said. “She thought bringing the money to Mary Free Bed would be her random act.”

Sarah and Brooklyn drove from their home in Middleville to Mary Free Bed to deliver the gift. A few weeks later, Brooklyn was treated to a tour of Mary Free Bed by CEO Kent Riddle and invited to talk with a group of employees about her career goal, including pediatric physical therapist Andrea Dennis. She also was presented with a Certificate of Appreciation for her donation.

“I know $428 isn’t a ton of money, but for a little girl it really is,” Sarah said. “She still talks about how Mary Free Bed helped her grandma. She wants to work there and make a difference in someone’s life, just like they did in her grandma’s life.”

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