LAWTON, Okla. (TNN) - A little girl in Lawton recently donated money she got from doing chores and getting donations to Comanche County Memorial Hospital's Nursing Education Research Scholarship Endowment (NERSE) fund. The fund helps current and future nurses at the hospital with paying for education.
Emma Southern is just eight years old. She got the idea to donate after watching a YouTuber raise money.
"In each and every video, she got almost $100," Emma said. "That made me go 'huh, what should I do?'"
That's when Emma started saving the money she got from doing chores.
"I also did chores at my babysitter's house," she said.
She also went door to door selling water. After saving some money, she told her grandpa, who works at CCMH, that she'd been saving her money, and she wanted to donate it.
Brian Southern, a pharmacist at the hospital, said he was surprised by how much money she had already saved.
"I was thinking, 'ok, maybe $10 or something like that' because I've been giving her money, but then she comes up and she says, 'I've got $60.' I was like, 'oh my goodness' because she likes to go to the Dollar Tree or someplace like that to spend her money," Brian said.
Emma ended up raising just under $100. Two departments at the hospital heard about what she was doing and decided to match her donation. So, in the end, she gave just under $300 to the foundation.
Lee Ann Chandler, with the CCMH Foundation, said there's a critical nursing shortage nationwide. She said they use money from the NERSE fund to try to help by providing scholarships, provide funding for nurses to go to conferences, and adding extra faculty to a college.
"What we were seeing was just not having enough staff and having to turn away qualified students into nursing programs due to the state education funding," Chandler said.
She said it provides additional times and hours, like evening and online classes, which makes it easier for them to continue their Registered Nursing degree.
Little Emma isn't finished raising money for the NERSE fund just yet.
"Next week I'm going to go to my babysitter's house, and we're going to make a lemonade stand," Emma said. "We're probably going to do it in the afternoon because that's when we get a lot of traffic."
She's hoping to inspire others to give just like she was inspired.
"You can challenge yourself that you want to do this just like me," Emma said.
"I'd like to also challenge the departments,” Brian said. “There are things that people in the hospital can do. This hospital benefits them. What can they do, what can their families do to benefit the hospital? I think that's something each department, each person employed here can look into their heart and see what they can do."
If you’d like to donate, you can do so by ccmhgiving.com or calling them at 580-250-5989.