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8-year-old making a difference for injured children




Jessica Leiker is making her spare change count.

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Jessica Leiker is making her spare change count.

The 8-year-old Wilson Elementary School student, who's been saving coins since last fall, recently purchased stuffed animals to donate to Ellis County EMS.

When asked who will receive her gifts, Jessica had a simple answer.

"Boys and girls," she said. "The ones that are sick."

Jessica, together with her mom, Jennifer, and sister, Angel, delivered the stuffed animals to the EMS station Monday afternoon. The idea to make the donation came from the possibilities Jennifer Leiker had posed for Jessica.

"I told her that this was an option she could do," Jennifer Leiker said. "She liked this one."

Jessica collected approximately $17 in a canning jar and did her shopping at Walmart SuperCenter.

"Your jar was full, so it was time to go (shopping)," Jennifer said, looking at Jessica.

EMS personnel said they were grateful for the toys that will be given to kids who are injured or sick.

"It helps comfort them," said Jamie Summers, Ellis County EMS lieutenant. "They grab ahold of (the toys) and hold on tight.

"It helps a lot. It really does."

Three or four stuffed animals, which generally are donated by local organizations, are kept in each emergency vehicle.

"This is the first time I think we've ever had a kid bring them in," Summers told Jessica.

It's shaping up to be a week of donations for Jessica, who, in addition to giving the toys, plans to cut and donate her long brown hair to Locks of Love, a public nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to children who are suffering from long-term medical hair loss. Jennifer Leiker said Jessica has grown her hair out for two years in anticipation of making the donation this week.