Kids honored for raising money for boy in hospital

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By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey
By Tami Hoey By Tami Hoey

PHOENIX  -- Three Valley youngsters are being honored for sacrificing their time and money to help out a boy in the hospital - a boy they didn't even know.

Now, Olivia Arratia, Malaina Staples and Anthony Gonzales are being called heroes.

The trio of Ashton Ranch Elementary students first heard from a teacher that Daniel Maldonado would be hospitalized for weeks at Phoenix Children's Hospital with meningitis. That's when the grade-schoolers decided they had to do something. So they began to raise money and gather donations.

Olivia collected money and started a lemonade stand. "It made me feel good because I was doing the right thing for a person," says Olivia.

Meantime, Malaina and Antony emptied their piggy banks for the cause, giving all the cash they had.

"It made me feel good because I felt like it wasn't just me; it was everyone else, too," Anthony says.

"I wanted to help him and his family just so they can have extra money and not worry about their son and then have to worry about money," says Malaina.

The kids ended up raising more than $350 for their sick friend

On Sunday, at Phoenix Fire Station 30, the young trio was honored by a group of Phoenix firefighters who think of them as heroes. The firefighters handed out plaques and food vouchers to the kids.

Their teacher says she couldn't be more proud. "None of them were looking for recognition," Amanda Hill says. "None of them knew Daniel at all. It's pretty neat to be so selfless and give to someone you don't even know."

After the ceremony, firefighters transported the children to PCH on a fire engine to visit young Daniel.