CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Just two days after Christmas, 9-year-old Riley Norris stopped by the Pediatric Cardiology Clinic at MUSC's Children's Hospital to give gifts away to children who are in the same situation she faced nine years ago.
At just 3 months old, Norris had emergency open heart surgery, which saved her life. Norris' mother, Leslie Norris, said the idea to give away gifts to children at MUSC came one morning while she was driving Riley to school.
"On the way to school she said 'I have a great idea,' and she goes, 'what if we collect all the toys from my birthday instead of having them come to me and we'll deliver them to MUSC Children's Hospital.' She said she would really like to give them to children who have had heart surgery like her," Leslie said.
"I'm giving out gifts today because I have a lot of toys, and I thought that kids that really need toys could have some good ones to play with and books to read," Riley said.
The gifts Riley gave away were gifts she received from her Nov. 28 birthday.
"She's a special child and it's amazing to see her give back, and as parents, this is exactly what you hope your children would want to do," Leslie said.
Riley's Father, Lance Norris, said he can't be more proud of his daughter's generosity and the progress she's making.
"Just to know that, where we came from at just 3 months old where her life was in jeopardy to now. Nine years later she's here, she's thriving, she's giving back, so it's something every Dad is ridiculously proud of," Lance Norris said.
When asked who came up with the idea of giving her birthday gifts to other children, Riley replied with a surprising answer.
"I came up with it by myself and my mom helped a lot too," Riley said.
For Riley, giving gifts to other children who are in the same situation she was nine years ago, truly is a gift, straight from the heart.
"It made me feel really proud of myself that I did this," Riley said.