When Katie Aris*, nine years old, decided she wanted to help sick children, she started a collection. She asked family and friends to donate spare change, which she saved all year before giving the money to General Hospital. “I wanted to help kids because helping others is the right thing to do,” Katie says.

“She selflessly saved her money and came to the hospital to personally deliver her heartfelt donation,” says Pam Lang, director of development with General Hospital’s Department of Philanthropy. “It was inspiring to see this quality at such a young age.”

Katie’s mother, Kelsey Aris, says her daughter has always been deeply compassionate. “I was sick with Hodgkin’s lymphoma and lost all my hair,” Kelsey says. “I would sleep on the bathroom floor and she would pat my back and sleep on the floor next to me.”

In addition to collecting money, Katie has never had a haircut. She’s growing it out to donate to Locks of Love and help children who have lost their own hair to cancer. “I want to be a doctor when I grow up and thought it would be good to start helping now,” Katie says. “If we all helped each other, this world would be better.”

*Based on a true story. Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of certain individuals.