KIND-hearted teenager Sonia Nijjar has promised to donate all her 18th birthday presents to a children’s hospital.
The Cirencester College student from Blunsdon was so moved when she heard about how a little boy had to spend Christmas in Birmingham Children’s Hospital (BCH) that she decided to give away her birthday presents.
The 17-year-old said: “Last year I heard about a little boy called Gaurav Bains. He is only three years old and had to spend six months in hospital waiting for a bone marrow transplant because he had a rare blood disorder called Monosomy 7.
“At the most critical time of Gaurav's life BCH played a very important role, and I just thought it would be good to help them.”
Sonia decided to help by donating her presents to the hospital to give the children a little bit of comfort during their stay.
She said: “I was thinking ‘I am going to be 18’ and I don’t really need presents so why not give them to people who really need them.
“I realised I take the simplest things for granted and I now feel it’s my turn to give back. The children are so young and they have to go through so much and I just wanted to help.
The teen’s decision surprised her family and friends, who were looking forward to celebrating the special day with lots of gifts.
Sonia said: “My mum was talking about my birthday and if there was anything I wanted and I said there wasn’t really and I wanted to give them to the children’s hospital.
“They were quite surprised. My aunties were then saying wasn’t there anything I wanted because it was my 18th.
“My friends were pretty surprised too and they said it was a really nice thing to do.”
She also hopes to raise awareness of Gaurav’s condition and encourage more people to donate bone marrow.
She said: “I’m hoping that telling his story will help more people realise the critical shortage of bone marrow donors in not only the Asian, but all non-white ethnic communities in the UK and encourage them to step forward and donate to help non-white blood cancer sufferers.”
Sonia will turn 18 on August 15 and although she did not want anything in particular for herself she has now compiled a wish list for her donation.
She has asked to be given new toys, computer games, arts and crafts, and money, and has reminded people that as well as young children they should also remember the teenagers who have to stay in the hospital.
She plans to collect the gifts on August 11 before she delivers them to Birmingham Children’s Hospital.
Anybody who wants to help Sonia give to the children can let her know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.