GREAT FALLS — When Lolly Hader made her donation to the “If You Give a Child a Book...” campaign on Thursday morning, she stopped by the front office at Sunnyside Elementary School, this year’s recipient - and memories came flooding back. “I saw on my KRTV news app yesterday that they were doing this pretty cool thing of giving children books to promote reading. And it was benefiting Sunnyside school, which is where I went to school,” Hader said. “Both of my girls went to school, it's a great place. And I think reading is really important.”
But Hader wanted to make sure her donation was made in the name of her daughter Daisy, who passed away nearly five years ago at the age of eight from a rare disease that caused her heart and lungs to fail. Daisy was a third-grader at Sunnyside.
“She went to the second grade and then we spent nine months at Seattle Children's Hospital. So I thought this was a great way to donate money in her memory,” Hader said. “It means a lot to my family. Sunnyside has its own family. You feel really close, you know, there's a lot of the teachers that are still there. Both my girls went here so it's just a tight knit community too.”
Daisy loved books - especially anything with her favorite superhero characters.
“The books that she liked were a lot of the Batman and Robin books,” Lolly said with a laugh. “She liked My Little Pony, and she did like comic books as well. Those were a little more advanced, so I'd read those to her. To keep her interested, you had to find books that meant something to her.”
Through things like a donation to the “If You Give a Child a Book…” campaign, a bench at the Montana Children’s Museum, an inscription at the carousel in Shelby, and most importantly Daisy’s Rainbow Cart at Benefis Health System - the Hader family honors Daisy’s life to continue inspiring and helping others.
“All of that makes it a little easier to get through the next day, because we're doing stuff to help other kids and keeping her memory alive,” Hader said. “You know, she was such a fighter, such a character, and she was very hard to forget. And so I want people who didn't know her to know what a good kid she was, what a fighter. She was our princess warrior.”
October 5th will mark five years since Daisy’s passing.
If you would like to make a donation, you can visit KRTV.com/giveabook, or you can text KRTV to 345345.
Last year's campaign benefited West Elementary School, and with generous donations from the community and a matching gift from the Scripps Howard Foundation, raised more than $11,000 toward the purchase of five books per student at West.