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Adults often strive to set a good example for children. But sometimes, it's the kids who set the example. Emmalee Mann is just such a person.

Recently, Emmalee decided to forego the usual gifts of a 12-year-old's birthday and, instead, asked her family and friends to donate the money they would have spent on presents to Children's Miracle Network Hospitals® at Gundersen Health System.

"CMN Hospitals helped out my family when I was born and I wanted to donate back to them," says Emmalee, whose birthday is Sept. 11.

When Emmalee was born, she spent time in Gundersen's Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. So, Emmalee and her family can appreciate the way CMN Hospitals help families in similar circumstances. Each year CMN Hospitals assist families in our area with transportation, lodging and meal costs; respite care; medical equipment such as ventilators, warmers and isolettes; and so much more.

Emmalee's goal was to raise $100, but what she got was a wonderful surprise and an amazing $1,290 in donations for CMN Hospitals. Emmalee used mymiraclebirthday.org, an online tool that helps donors donate their birthdays to CMN Hospitals.

"When I heard I could donate my birthday, I decided I really wanted to do it this year," says Emmalee. "I just told everyone ‘no presents.'"

Emmalee's mother, Laura adds, "I also shared her My Miracle Birthday page on social media. Several donations came online from friends who were moved by her generosity. We also invited family and her school basketball team to a picnic and bean bag tournament at the local park. We had our CMN Hospitals/ACE Hardware bucket on the table for people to drop in their cards and donations. It was a lot of fun!"

"We're very proud of her and she's received a lot of praise for doing this," says Laura. "We hope that she's inspired others to do the same."

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