Universal City, Calif. — A 12-year-old boy from Roanoke Rapids boy shared his dedication to helping children recover from trauma on national TV Friday.
Elijah Lee visited The Kelly Clarkson Show in California, where he told Clarkson, singer Patti LaBelle and a studio audience about his goal of creating warm, welcoming rooms in hospitals for children who have suffered abuse.
“After they literally see their parents dragged away in handcuffs, they immediately have to go to the hospital and wait in this very dull, grim hospital room,” Elijah said. “You all know that there is nothing fun about being in a hospital room.”
He wants to create pediatric safe rooms with light colors, toys and games, “where kids can actually enjoy themselves for a minute,” he said. “I want it to be a calming time because children do go through things, and it’s hard for children, too.”
In 2018, Elijah organized the first Child Abuse Awareness March in Roanoke Rapids after learning that one of his peers had been abused.
Last month, his GoFundMe fundraiser to create a pediatric safe room at Halifax Regional Medical Center exceeded its $3,000 goal.
“The fact is that we’ve had young people go through abuse – we can’t even imagine the pain,” he said on The Kelly Clarkson Show. “Often times, they feel like it’s their fault when it’s not, and they need to have times they realize that you are a kid, you deserve to have fun, and you deserve to feel safe.”
WRAL News first met Elijah and learned of his advocacy in February. He said then that he wanted to empower other children to take action, too.
“I think that’s important because kids are told to be quiet all the time, figuratively and literally, and I think it’s time that kids start speaking up,” Elijah said at the time.
Elijah and his three siblings lost their father eight years ago to a heart attack. Their mother said that, even as a 4-year-old, Elijah tried his best to comfort her.
“He sat on my lap and said, ‘Mommy, don’t cry. Daddy’s in heaven, and that’s the best place to be in the world,'” she said.
On The Kelly Clarkson Show, Elijah said having a safe place to escape his grief could have helped him.
“If I would’ve had that type of room when I lost my father, I think it definitely would have made an impact on that experience for me,” he said.
After speaking with Elijah, Clarkson had a surprise for him: four tablets, a 40-inch TV and a $1,000 gift card to decorate the pediatric safe room.
LaBelle, who sat next to Elijah as he described his cause, gave him a surprise, too.
“What you’re doing is empowering me,” she told Elijah.
“I want you and your family and anybody you want to bring to come to my show so we can jam,” she said, inviting him to her concert in Greensboro in April.
The final gift from The Kelly Clarkson Show was also for the Lee family: a trip to a luxury resort in Jamaica over the holidays.
Published at Fri, 06 Dec 2019 22:00:00 +0000