There are few things Ella Foutz loved more than books.
That’s why Ella’s older sister Kieva held a book drive to collect brand-new books to donate to University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, where Ella was treated for kidney failure. The Foutz family delivered the books—222 in total—on Jan. 4, which would have been Ella’s seventh birthday.
Sadly, Ella passed away in July 2016. Born with an unbalanced chromosomal translocation, she experienced complications following a kidney transplant. The book drive was a way for Kieva and the Foutz family to honor Ella’s memory and help other kids being treated at Masonic Children’s Hospital. Ella and her family often borrowed books from the hospital’s Family Resource Center to help pass the time during her stay at the hospital, the family said.
To spur awareness, Kieva shared the news about the book drive on social media, and collected many donations from family and friends. She also sorted and stored the books she received prior to the drop-off at the hospital, and sent thank-you notes to many of the donors.
“Truly, it was all her from beginning to end,” said Sandy Foutz, Kieva’s mom.
“Ella loved books, and the hospital always had books on hand for her to look at and enjoy,” Kieva said. “I did this book drive because she loved books so much and found so much happiness in them and I wanted other kids to share in that happiness too! I know if Ella was here she would have loved it!”