Leigh Dittman  Photo: Baynews

 

TAMPA - Fifteen-year-old Leigh Dittman calls Shriner’s Hospitals for Children in Tampa her second home.

"The majority of my childhood is spent here,” Dittman said. “I could take you down every hallway and tell you a story for every single place in this hospital."

Dittman was born with brittle bone disease and has suffered dozens of broken bones and countless surgeries.

But it never stopped her from wanting to give back.

She was inspired by the philanthropy wall in the hospital lobby.

"I have vague memories of being a kid and just doing this across the wall and thinking how cool it would be to have one,” Dittman said.

When she was two, Dittman decided to dedicate each of her birthdays to raising money for Shriner’s.

"I had people asking me, 'how much do you want to make?' and I was like, 'a million dollars seems like a really big number, let’s go with that,'” Dittman said.

By her 15th birthday, she reached her goal.

Monday, the hospital thanked her by giving her a gold plaque, reserved for donors who give at least $1 million, on the philanthropy wall.

"It’s amazing that the 14 minute kid, who was supposed to live 14 minutes, is now 15 years old, a shining star in school, pillar of the community, philanthropist,” dad David Dittman said.

 

Story by Sarah Belrose at Baynews

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