CENTERVILLE, Ohio (WDTN) — A Centerville fourth grader won the top prize in her school’s fundraiser, but she didn’t keep the winnings for herself and instead donated them to children in the hospital.
When Weller Elementary School held its annual fundraiser selling raffle tickets, nine-year-old Gretchen Beecroft had her sights set high. “We made it through thanks to our friends and family,” said Gretchen, whose giving heart is unmatched.
“This year we decided to do a raffle,” said Weller Elementary School Principal Andrew Boeke. “We had a lot of students up until the last minute selling to try to win that top prize.”
Like other students, Gretchen wanted to win too, but for a different reason–she wanted to give back. “First place is fun, but first place felt so huge this time around,” said Tricia Beecroft, Gretchen’s mother.
Gretchen sold more than $2,600 in raffle tickets for the fundraiser. That made her top seller, and she won a $3,000 Disney gift card. “I thought about it and I was like well, I’m going to donate this,” said Gretchen.
Gretchen took the $3,000 she won and bought gifts at the Disney store for Dayton Children’s and Cincinnati Children’s. “Our family has gone through medical issues and surgeries and it’s not fun,” said Gretchen.
“It was neat to see her shopping for other kids, and at no point did she say, ‘I want this for me.’ You know, it was completely for someone else. It was very selfless, and I was very proud of her,” said Tricia Beecroft.
Knowing what it’s like to spend time in the hospital with her brother having multiple surgeries, Gretchen wanted to give to other children who were in the hospital. She delivered the Disney donations to patients, bringing a smile to them and an even bigger one to herself, hoping others will also be inspired by her actions.
“I hope other people will help donate too,” said Gretchen.
Principal Boeke says students raised more than $25,000 for the school through the raffle ticket fundraiser.