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A heartfelt 'thank you'

Deanna Pauline, 9, organized a tab collection drive to benefit the Ronald McDonald House.

Deanna Pauline, 9, organized a tab collection drive to benefit the Ronald McDonald House. Submitted Photo

— It all started with a slumber party.

“I came up with the idea because one day my friend slept over at my house and I told her about collecting tabs, so at school she brought me a tab,” said Deanna Pauline, a 4th-grader at Saddlewood Elementary School.

Now, Pauline, 9, is challenging her schoolmates to bring in the tabs from the tops of aluminum cans during the month of February. Then, she’ll deliver them to the Ronald McDonald House Charities in Albany for its Pop Tabs Collection program.

“I just want to collect them to say ‘thank you’ for helping me,” said Pauline.

In her eyes, she has a lot to say ‘thank you’ for. She stayed at a RMH in Pittsburgh when she was getting further evaluation following an intracranial hemorrhage. A big part of the organization’s mission is to set up the families of children in the hospital with lodging at or near the hospital and take care of other needs, so the family can be at a child’s side.

“When we stayed in the house in Pittsburgh it was just so beautiful and everything was like a hotel and … the kids there, they were really fun too,” said Pauline.

Pauline said she hopes collecting the tabs will help some of the kids who aren’t as lucky as she is.

“That made me want to collect more tabs because there are some serious kids out there that need help,” said Pauline.

What started as a tab collection among family and friends turned into a school-wide effort when her teacher, Lisa DeStaso-Jones, heard her story.

“She came to me and … said ‘Can I make an announcement in class and ask my classmates to bring these in?’” said DeStaso-Jones. “I said, ‘Don’t stop there.’”

The chance to turn her personal philanthropy project into something bigger thrilled Pauline.

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