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Girl Scouts brighten day for preschooler with heart disease
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Four-year-old Haylee enjoys the mermaid backpack sent to her by Great Bend Girls Scouts. - photo by Courtesy photos

Great Bend Girl Scouts are wrapping up cookie sales but they took time recently to befriend a 4-year-old girl with a rare disease. Troop 11142 leader Dana Morse said they made a surprise package for little Haylee, who has a congenital heart disease. She was diagnosed with a complete atrioventricular (AV) canal heart defect and pulmonary hypertension in 2015. She lives in Saint Peters, Missouri.
Morse also has pulmonary hypertension, which is how she came to learn about Haylee and her Facebook page, “Pray 4 Hay.”
“I shared her story with my Girl Scouts in Great Bend,” Morse said. The girls created homemade cards and sent Haylee a mermaid backpack, since they knew she loves mermaids.
“We just thought we wanted to brighten her day,” Morse said. “We’re all pretty inspired by her.” As it turned out, the backpack was the perfect gift because Haylee uses it to carry her medicine pump, which is at the ready 24/7.
Larissa Graham, manager for the area Girl Scouts service unit, commented on the project. “I’m so proud of the heart and soul these Girl Scouts have to make someone else smile,” she said. “I am so blessed to be involved in Girl Scouts when our leaders are instilling these values into our girls.”
This wasn’t their first service project. They regularly visit the Great Bend Health and Rehabilitation Center, where Morse is the activity coordinator. They’ve decorated Christmas cookies, held a Halloween party and given the residents socks.
For the cancer patients, they made gift bags filled with items such as lotions, lip balm and word puzzle books.

Cookie sales/shares
This is Girl Scout Week, celebrating the birthday of the organization that began in 1912. It is also the last week of Girl Scout cookie sales. Scouts from Kelley Johnson’s troop will be selling cookies this Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Dillons, 4107 10th St. They will also be at Sutherland’s, 5520 10th St., on Saturday and at Walgreens, 3920 10th St., on Sunday.
Kaitie Foley with Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland notes that there is still time for customers to support not only Kansas Girl Scouts, but soldiers and local charities, too.
Through Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland’s Cookie Share Program, customers can purchase cookies at the same $4 per package and donate their purchase to members of the military and their families, or local charities like the Kansas Food Bank. Cookie Shares are tax-deductible.
Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland has distributed more than 139,650 packages of Girl Scout Cookies through its Cookie Share Program since the program started in 2010, with more than half going to military members and their families, including those stationed overseas. Last year, Kansas Girl Scouts sold more than 22,000 Cookie Shares — equating to more than $88,000 worth of Girl Scout Cookies customers bought and donated. This year, girls are aiming to break the 150,000 package threshold to continue providing sweet treats to charities and service members.