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8-year-old girl has her heart set on charity, despite fighting illness

NUNICA, Mich. -- For most kids, their birthday means a party with presents, but for 8-year-old Josslyn Siddall in Nunica, she sees her birthday as an opportunity to give to others while she fights her own battles.

Though she's still in elementary school, Josslyn is doing a world of good.

"I'm very proud of her," her mother Shari tells FOX 17. "I can't wait to see what life has to bring her."

For her eighth birthday, Josslyn decided to raise money to buy stuffed animals to donate to local police. She hopes they can hand them out to children during domestic disturbance calls, "so kids aren't scared of police when they're out on calls," Shari says.

Josslyn hosted a soup cook-off at the Crockery Creek Saloon and raised over $1,000 for her cause. Josslyn recently bought the stuffed animals and will soon be distributing them to police departments.

Shari says she's blown away by her daughter's big heart, as she is already planning her next good deed. Josslyn wants to send supplies to Helen DeVos Children's Hospital, a place that is far too familiar to Josslyn.

"She has some sort of connective tissue disorder," Shari says. "Not really sure what that is looking like quite yet but she has scoliosis. She wears a back brace. She was also diagnosed with central sleep apnea when she was 3 years old. So, I don't know if that's why she has the time to come up with these wonderful ideas, but she does."

All her time at the hospital keeps Josslyn inspired to find ways to make the time other kids spend as patients a little bit easier. She has already raised over $1,000 for the hospital's Child Life program. Now she wants to donate fleece blankets and Chapstick, which helps with the bad smell that kids often experience when they get anesthesia, "because sometimes it smells like penguin poo," Josslyn says.

Shari says her daughter is an inspiration: "We just take every day as we can and move forward, and she does all of these wonderful things. And I think it gives her a different perspective than a lot of kids, having to go through all of the things she does."

Helping the children's hospital is part of a long list of charitable projects Josslyn has set her mind to. "She just mentioned to me today that she wants to do something for the Red Cross," Shari says, "so whatever it is she comes up with, we try to help her do."

Josslyn has also raised money for a teen homeless shelter in Cadillac and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in addition to volunteering with the Traverse Bay Children's Advocacy Center.

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