SCRANTON — Abington Heights Middle School students Paige Walsh, Marley Sarafinko and Sophia Cody have been friends for about as long as they can remember. They do almost everything together – softball, Odyssey of the Mind, lunch, shopping, sleep-over parties. And with all three girls born around the same time of year in January and February, their birthdays are no exception.
This year, the sixth-graders decided to join forces to do something special to celebrate – but not for themselves.
They hosted a joint birthday party at the Sky Zone trampoline park in Pittston and asked their guests to bring donations for the Ronald McDonald House of Scranton, instead of birthday presents. More than 20 people came to the party, raising a total of $600 for the charity, which provides a place to stay for families with seriously ill or injured children who are in local hospitals.
“We all knew that we wanted to have a party together,” Sophia said, adding they also wanted to do something to make a difference.
“We got to help other people, while still having fun with our friends,” she said.
The cause is close to the hearts off all three girls and their families, but especially to the Sarafinkos. Marley’s parents, Brian and Jennifer Sarafinko, explained when Marley was just five weeks old, she was hospitalized for an entire month in Danville. During that time, the family was able to stay at a Ronald McDonald House near the hospital — which is why the girls chose the organization as the recipient of their birthday donations.
“It was very special to all of us,” said Sophia.
“I’m very, very proud of them,” said Kate Walsh, Paige’s mother. “They are selfless. Not many sixth-graders are willing to do that.”