NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — A third grader’s friendship bracelet project has turned into a major fundraising effort for a little boy in need.
9-year-old Annie Connerton was worried when her friend Mavrick Mask stopped showing up for recess at Hamilton Elementary School back in February.
“It was a lot of ‘Mavrick’s not at school today, I don’t know where Mavrick is, no one knows where Mavrick is,'” Annie’s mom Kathleen Connerton said.
It turned out 6-year-old Mavrick was in the hospital, suffering from a blood infection that forced the doctors to amputate both of his feet. Mavrick has Down Syndrome and suffers from a heart condition. He has undergone three open heart surgeries in his young life so far.
Annie made Mavrick a friendship bracelet and sent it to him at the hospital. She and her friends all started wearing the bracelets to support him through his recovery. Then, Annie and her mom got the idea to sell the bracelets for two dollars each.
The project blew up; teachers and students bought them, local coffee shops sold them, and suddenly almost everyone in town was sporting a braided bracelet #Made4Mavrick.
“We’ve sold thousands of friendship bracelets,” Kathleen Connerton said. She estimates about $10,000 alone has been raised from the bracelet sales, along with T-shirt sales and other donations. She said a local firefighter even helped organize a donated car for the family.
“We didn’t have to try very hard,” Connerton said at a block party fundraiser held for Mavrick on Friday. “People just showed up.”
Mavrick’s mom Johanna Koundrakas said she has been overwhelmed by the outpouring of support. She has six total children, and Mavrick is the youngest.
“It’s just over the top,” she said at the block party. “I never expected something like this.”
Koundrakas said Mavrick is still getting used to life without his feet–but the happy kindergartner has had a positive attitude.