While most children were carving jack-o’-lanterns and picking out Halloween costumes last month, 8-year-old Destany Hubbard was hard at work preparing for Christmas – not for herself, but for dozens of children who will spend all or part of their holiday in the hospital where she also is a patient.
Destany, who goes to Finley Road Elementary School in Rock Hill, has a blood disorder known as idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura – or, ITP – in which a person’s immune system destroys blood platelets that are necessary for clotting.
“Her healthy blood is eating the platelets as fast as it’s producing them,” said Destany’s father, David Hubbard.
Destany goes each week to Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte to get a shot aimed at boosting her platelet count, Hubbard said. After a visit this fall, she went to her parents and her grandmother about doing something nice for the children who will be in the hospital during the Christmas holiday.
“She started with wanting to do a fundraiser,” said Louise Hubbard, Destany’s grandmother. “But I told her it was too much to get all that together.”
After consulting with her mother, Destany got the idea to make and stuff Christmas stockings to bring to the children.
“We’re gonna be taking these to the kids that didn’t get a lot of Christmas last year or this year,” Destany said.
Part of her motivation for the gesture, Destany said, was a little boy at the hospital who had given her a backpack filled with school supplies. He later died.
“I just wanted to give back,” she said, adding that she also wanted to bring goody-filled stockings to the church’s shut-ins.
Destany and her grandmother got to work making the stockings in early October, Louise Hubbard said. Since then, they’ve made more than 150 stockings of varying styles and colors. Many have Christmas patterns, but some have sports team and even camouflage patterns.
“It just came to my mind,” she said. “I saw everybody at the hospital, and I just started to think, maybe I should help them out and bring joy to their life.”
Several local businesses, including Walmart in Newport, G. Campbell Construction in Rock Hill, the Hampton Inn & Suites in Fort Mill and members of Woodhaven Baptist Church in Rock Hill helped provide candy, toys, drawing pads, bookmarks and other goodies to fill the stockings. David Hubbard said they plan to go to the hospital Friday to deliver the stockings.
Hubbard said they found out last week that Destany may end up staying in the hospital during the holiday season. Doctors recently decided the best way to treat her illness will be to remove her spleen, and they would like to do it before Jan. 1, he said.
“She’s my inspiration,” he said. “She keeps me going. When something bad happens, I sit down and think about Destany and what she’s going through. She never complains about not being able to ride a bike or go out and play with other kids because she might fall.”
A date for the surgery hasn’t been set, he said. Destany turns 9 on Dec. 19.