Members of the Key Club at Ohatchee High School had collected $1 per balloon for the campaign. The money will be used to fund construction of The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children in Birmingham, part of Childen’s.
“What’s so impressive about that is that it is all student-led,” said Charissa Lambert, an 11th-grade English teacher and sponsor of Ohatchee’s Key Club chapter. “These are high school kids.”
Ohatchee High School Key Club chapter joined Key Club chapters across Alabama in a larger campaign that’s already raised $150,000 for the hospital system. But, she said, Key Club high school students in Alabama are continuing to raise money for the hospital.
“We’re just kind of adding to that goal,” Lambert said.
The Ohatchee Key Club’s goal for the balloon campaign was to raise $200, but it comfortably exceeded that amount. After 275 balloons were purchased, people stopped buying balloons and simply started donating money to the cause. The club will be giving $400 to Children’s of Alabama.
“This speaks volumes about the hearts of the students out here,” Lambert said. “All I had to say was this was about Children’s hospital and kids were turning over money hand over fist to me.”
Students who have themselves been helped by Children’s of Alabama will be among those releasing balloons.
“We’ve had several students from the Ohatchee communities that have been helped by Children’s in recent years,” Lambert said.
Alexis Tiller, a senior who has sought medical treatment at Children’s for stomach pain, sold balloons at Little League athletic events for the campaign.
“I know what the kids there are going through,” Tiller said. “These people need to know that we care about them and it’s a good cause.”
The Benjamin Russell Hospital for Children dedicated its building in June and patients moved into the towering building in August.
The funding raised by the Key Club is part of the $110 million raised in the systems’ capital campaign for the building, said Kathy Bowers, hospital spokeswoman.
Star staff writer Laura Johnson: 256-235-3544. On Twitter@LJohnson_Star.