Anna MacConnell was born on May 7, 2001.
Just hours after her birth, doctors found a heart condition that would require open heart surgery when she was two months old.
Congenital Rubella Syndrome also left Anna blind and deaf.
Anna– along with her parents, Chip and Betsy, and sister, Danielle– spent countless hours in the hospital.
But the MacConnells weren’t without hope… and help:
“We had people who would just make us dinner,” Anna’s father, Chip MacConnell, said. “We had people– there was a Boy Scout troop who mowed our lawn for us and trimmed our bushes when we were in the hospital and we couldn’t take care of those things ourselves. So there were some people who did some really nice things for us that were very helpful.”
Anna’s heart gave out in 2012. Through her family’s grief and mourning, Angels for Anna was born.
“We thought that we needed to come up with a way that would empower individuals to do something nice for someone else every day,” Chip said. “And that’s kind of what we wanted Anna’s legacy to be: was just to go out there and be kind.”
Angels for Anna contributes year round to projects at Dayton Children’s Hospital and the Ronald McDonald house.
They also make and deliver handcrafted wind chimes to families in need of encouragement.
And they put together “Parent Packs” for families at Dayton Children’s Hospital: containing everything from toothpaste and toothbrushes, to sweatpants.
“If there’s a parent who is experiencing an emergency admission with their kiddo, we can give them everything they need to get by,” Chip said. “So that makes things much more convenient and much more helpful for them.”
Her family says it’s what Anna would have wanted: Carrying on a love for others that Anna showed every day of her short life.
“She has taught me what it looks like to be strong,” Danielle MacConnell said. “And she’s taught me what it looks like to be non-judgemental. She didn’t care what you looked like. She didn’t care your background. She didn’t care, really, who you were. But more so how you treated people.”
Doing something nice for someone else every day.
“If we all did that we think the world would be probably a much better place to be,” Chip said.
Their dream is to open a facility that would provide opportunities for life enhancement for all…. including therapies, life skill learning, and volunteering.
If you’d like to get involved with Angels for Anna, head to their website.