San Jose

Palo Alto Teenager Creates Project to Make Birthdays Easier For Young Patients

Gunn High School student Ember Lin-Sperry isn’t a doctor. But she’s found a cure for young patients at a local hospital.

The 16-year-old created Project Birthday Box, a non-profit which donates birthday party supplies to hospitals where some children have to celebrate birthdays.

Lin-Sperry’s mom, who is a maternity nurse at Stanford Medical Center, told her about pediatric nurses who often buy supplies using their own money to decorate patient rooms.

“I thought, that’s not their job,” said Lin-Sperry.

Project Birthday Box is her remedy. Since February 2016, she has been collecting money and supplies from the community to give to Stanford hospital.

She first had the idea as a fourth-grader when she donated party supplies as a Girl Scouts project. When she went on a service trip to Belize years later, she decided she wanted to help her own community again.

Each “birthday box” typically includes colorful streamers, cone-shaped party hats, stickers, games, paper plates and napkins, and coloring books. Hospital rules prohibit candles, balloons, and food.

Neighbors and friends who have leftover streamers, party hats and other items have donated. Lin-Perry has also hosted fundraisers, donation drives, and won a $300 grant to keep the project going.

She has delivered between 20 to 30 bags so far. She credits her family, fellow students and her grandmother for helping with the non-profit.

Her cousin, who lives in San Jose, plans to spread the project and donate items to Good Samaritan Hospital.

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