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Quilting Project Will Comfort Children With Heart Disease

Whitefish Bay Middle School student Aviya Stein created 18 quilts and raised $2,600 to benefit children with heart defects in the Herma Heart Center at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin.

One year ago, for children with heart defects.

It wasn't an easy mission, but the seventh grade student at Whitefish Bay Middle School was able to accomplish her goals by her Bat Mitzvah, which she celebrated on Sept. 8.

In fact, Aviya exceeded her goals by $800, raising a total of $2,600 from friends, teachers, and other groups and individuals from across the country who found out about her online fundraising effort.

Her 18 quilts will soon be delivered to the Herma Heart Center at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, where they will be distributed to the young patients.

The quilting project is close to home for Aviya, whose 10-year-old brother Asher has been in and out of Children's Hospital for a congenital heart defect he was born with. Aviya saw how much her brother appreciated the keepsake quilt he was given at the hospital, and she decided to start quilting her own blankets.

"My favorite part is picking out what colors match and which designs to use," she said. "Now my friends want to learn how to quilt, too."

Aviya's quilts range from small infant blankets to a large tiger quilt she made for Asher. A nurse in the heart care unit said heart defects are detected at a young age, so they needed more small blankets for the infant patients.

The Whitefish Bay community not only supported Aviya's efforts through fundraising, several people also nominated her for the Kohl's Cares Scholarship program, which honors youth community service efforts.

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In June, Stein was chosen as the top youth volunteer for the Kohl's store at Bayshore Town Centre, joining only 82 other young people in the state to receive a recognition certificate and $50 gift card through the program.

Although it took a lot of time and energy, Aviya said it would be worth the effort if it brightens the day for a child in a hospital bed.

"It was very tiring, but very rewarding," she said.

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