East Greenville girl who donates to CHOP receives gift of her own.
Morgan Keely can be described quite accurately as small but mighty.
The soon-to-be third-grader, who was born deaf thanks to a mutation of the connexin 26 and 30 genes, has undergone many surgeries in her lifetime. With the help of cochlear implants, she can hear now and joyfully celebrates the "birthdays" of each of her ears.
It was that trying time in her young life, though, that spurred Keely to start Morgan's Magical Ears. Through the program she donates buckets filled with a stuffed dog named "Woofi," along with items like coloring books, stickers, crayons and snacks, to other children undergoing painful procedures at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP).
The East Greenville girl has made it her life's mission to not only make other kids feel better, but to let them know they aren't alone. To date, Morgan's Magical Ears has donated more than 250 buckets.
But just last week, an area business decided to turn the tables on her.
After hearing that Keely herself had landed back at CHOP for two kidney surgeries in February, Art on Main offered her the chance to have a complimentary painting party in honor of her birthday.
"We learned about Morgan after she came into the studio," said Maxine Sheaffer, who co-owns the shop with her husband, Dave. "She is such an amazing girl and an inspiration for people with health problems. When we found out she was nervous about her surgery we wanted to give her something to look forward to."
So months later, since her mom, Julie, didn't want her to miss any more school, Morgan Keely and three of her friends visited Art on Main. But instead of accepting gifts for herself, Keely, of course, requested donations for her buckets.
"I wanted to do that because people are more important than gifts," she said. "I love sharing the good news and love."
Keely and her friends, Tess Bergey, Libbie Derstine and Eden Schrag, amassed about 50 items to help fill more buckets for Morgan's Magical Ears. She will deliver about 25 of them to CHOP later this month.
The girls, who painted seahorses, were also able to see their donations in action as they gave a bucket that night to a local boy, who is deaf, and will be getting cochlear implants this fall.
As for continuing her goodwill project, Keely said she has no plans to slow down. She has gotten phone calls and emails from people who received her buckets, which have traveled across the country. Her mom said she wouldn't have it any other way.
"Morgan is my role model; the strongest little girl I know," Julie Keely said. "She always has a smile and looks for the positive even when she is going through surgeries. With all that goes on with her, her focus continues to be on other people.
"This project keeps growing and the feeling Morgan gets from giving is so heartwarming. She wishes she had enough for every child at CHOP. Who knows, dreams do come true."
For more information on Morgan's Magical Ears, visit morgansmagicalears.blogspot.com or their Facebook page.