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‘Happy Helper,’ 8, aids heart patient

BY EDIE GROSS

THE FREE LANCE-STAR

Henrietta Propps needs a new heart, and 8-year-old Alexa Kincaid has a rather large one.

So Alexa, a third-grader at Battlefield Elementary School in Spotsylvania, is doing her

very best to help Propps—a woman she’s never even met.

It all started with a homework assignment in Alexa’s SCOPE, or gifted, class. The students had learned about the importance of making a difference in their communities and then were tasked with doing just that with their families.

Alexa knew she wanted to raise money for a good cause, but there are so many that choosing one was a challenge.

A soccer player, Alexa originally thought she might support a sports-related cause.

She also kicked around the idea of doing something for children with special needs.

Then on April 8, she came across a story in The Free Lance–Star about Propps, a Spotsylvania mother and grandmother who needs a lifesaving heart transplant.

The only thing keeping her off the transplant waiting list right now is a lack of funds. Propps needs to have at least $12,000 set aside to pay for anti-rejection drugs before she’s eligible.

“I thought it was sad that she couldn’t be put on the list to get a transplant,” said Alexa, the youngest child of Violet and Aaron Kincaid.

“We happened to read the story, and we looked at each other and said, ‘This is what we’re doing,’” said Alexa’s mom.

A PERSONAL CAUSE

Alexa is selling discount cards that people can use at a variety of retailers as a way to raise money for Propps.

Her efforts mean a lot to Propps’ family, said the woman’s daughter, Virginia Bradshaw.

They were originally told that Propps needed to raise $6,000 to cover costs before Medicaid would pick up the rest. But Medicaid recently revised that estimate to $12,000, which could delay her being added to the transplant waiting list, Bradshaw said.

The family has raised close to $7,000 through yard sales and HelpHOPELive, a nonprofit that helps patients raise funds for medical bills through donations on its website, helpHOPElive.org.

The family was thrilled to hear about Alexa’s efforts, said Bradshaw, who added that her mother hopes to meet the youngster soon.

“We’re more than grateful for everything this little girl’s doing,” Bradshaw said. “We are just so blessed and so honored she was willing to do this for us.”

The importance of a successful organ transplant isn’t lost on the Kincaid family.

Violet’s sister, Robin, was born with only one functioning kidney, and she required a transplant at the age of 20. She just celebrated her 43rd birthday.

Thankfully, she’s remained healthy, said Alexa’s grandmother, Judy Vassar of King George. But Robin’s husband, Michael, who suffered kidney failure after a battle with strep throat, died about 18 months ago when his body rejected a second donor kidney.

“We know the value of a transplant,” said Vassar.

“The whole transplant thing to me is a really big deal,” added Violet.

MAKING A DIFFERENCE

Alexa set her goal at $1,100. A friend of her mother’s had sold gift cards as a fundraiser once, so the Kincaids decided that was the way to go.

Alexa pulled her crayons out and drew a picture with the words “The Happy Helper” in the middle of it, and her parents had the image printed on 100 discount cards from an Arizona-based company called Xtraman Fundraising.

The cards entitle purchasers to discounts at thousands of businesses across the country, from movie theaters and museums to restaurants and contact lens manufacturers. Even Disney World participates.

Alexa is selling the cards for $20, and each one comes with a $25 restaurant.com credit, so they pay for themselves instantly. Half of the money she raises will cover the cost of the cards, and the rest will go to Propps through HelpHOPELive.

With help from family and friends, Alexa has sold all but about 30 of the cards. She’s also hoping to raise more money for the cause by recycling ink cartridges.

Alexa said her Battlefield Elementary classmates have supported her efforts, and she earned kudos from SCOPE teacher Catherine Killough.

“She said it was for a great cause and it was marvelous,” said Alexa, beaming.

When she’s not helping her community, Alexa enjoys running around with brothers Aaron Jr., 16, and Andrew, 13, turning cartwheels and spending time at the Dollar Tree.

She said she has enjoyed receiving help from the whole community, and she’s optimistic that her homework assignment will help Propps.

“I hope my project makes a difference in her life,” she said.

WANT TO HELP?

Alexa Kincaid, 8, is selling discount cards to raise money for Spotsylvania resident Henrietta Propps, who needs a heart transplant.

For information about the cards, which cost $20, go to Facebook and type “SCOPE Project for www.helphopelive.org in honor of Henrietta Propps” in the search field. To see which businesses accept the discount card, visit xtramandiscounts.com.

You can also make a tax-deductible donation directly to Propps’ account by typing her name in the patient-finder box at HelpHOPELive.org.

HELP HOPE LIVE

HelpHOPELive is a nonprofit that helps patients raise funds for medical bills through tax-deductible donations on its website. Propps is one of four patients in the Fredericksburg region using the organization. The others are:

Greg Brown of Fredericksburg, who needs a heart transplant.

Debbie White of Locust Grove, who needs a heart and kidney transplant.

Larry Carter of Rappahannock County, who is recovering from a severe spinal injury.

You can see more information about the patients by entering their names in the patient-finder box at HelpHOPE Live.org.

Edie Gross: 540/374-5428

egross@freelancestar.com

Permalink: http://news.fredericksburg.com/features/2012/05/14/happy-helper-8-aids-heart-patient/