Alyssa and Ashton Jean-Marie presented a check to LLU Children’s Hospital alongside mascot Luke the Lion on Monday, July 2.

Loma Linda University Children’s Hospital (LLUCH) recently gained two young benefactors after brother-sister duo Ashton and Alyssa Jean-Marie donated over $1,000 to the LLUCH Birthday Club.

For their birthdays this year, the siblings raised money by asking for donations to the hospital in lieu of birthday gifts. They set a goal to raise $500 but were able to raise $1,005.

“There are things far more important than toys,” said Alyssa, 11, during the check presentation ceremony on July 2. “It makes us happy to help sick kids, and hopefully this will make a difference.”

The Birthday Club was established in 2016 to honor and celebrate extraordinary kids who want to give back to other kids in need after Ulysses Hsu became the hospital’s first junior philanthropist. Funds raised through the club will benefit Vision 2020 – The Campaign for a Whole Tomorrow and the construction of the new Children’s Hospital tower.

Rachelle Bussell, MA, CFRE, senior vice president of advancement at Loma Linda University Health, said she was moved by the generosity of Alyssa and Ashton, 4.

“These kids are teaching the next generation the value of giving back and making a difference for someone else,” Bussell said. “Donating in honor of a birthday to our Children’s Hospital brings valuable dollars to kids and families during some of their most difficult times, and we hope it has made you feel incredibly special birthday. You are special to us.”

Alyssa and Ashton are the youngest members of the Birthday Club and the first siblings to donate.

I’ve learned to be more selfless and appreciate what we have.Alyssa, age 11

Alyssa said she learned a lot through the process and would do it again.

“I’ve learned to be more selfless and appreciate what we have.”

To learn more about donating your birthday to LLUCH, visit LLUCH.org/BirthdayClub.