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TAMPA TEEN USES BIRTHDAY AS FUNDRAISER
A Tampa girl picked a unique way to celebrate her sweet 16th birthday in December. Of course, there were family and friends, cake and music. But there was a different take to the celebration.
Shivani Patel, an 11th-grader at King High School, daughter of Dr. Himanshu and Dipti Patel, had a big formal party at India Cultural Center. She asked everyone to bring donations to two of her favorite charities in lieu of gifts. And she had personal reasons to do so. Shivani and Selavi Patel
“When I was 11, I was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), which is a rare illness in children,” says Shivani. “I basically lived in the hospital for six months. Over those six months, a lot of things went through my head, like if I was going to die or not. These are things that a child should not have to think about. Children’s Dream Fund made my wish come true during this hard time. I believe every child should have a chance to have their dream fulfilled because it may be their last.”
During a trip to India the next year after being released from the hospital, Shivani realized “besides everything I had just gone through that I am very privileged. I visited a place, Manav Sadhna, dedicated to try to make the lives of poor children just a little bit easier. Every child should have the opportunity to better themselves. This organization helps kids get the love and care they need to grow.”
Shivani’s parents are proud. Mom Dipti said she hopes others will be inspired by her daughter’s actions.
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