RALEIGH, North Carolina (WTVD) --Frosting on top of a big, sweet cake - it's what many think of when they hear the word "birthday," but what if you're spending your special day in the hospital?
Now, a Wake County high schooler is trying to make hospital stays a little easier for those patients.
It's an idea Asiyah Ahmad, a student at Wake STEM Early College High School, couldn't let go of after she was visiting her grandmother at WakeMed one day, after meeting another patient who had to spend his special day there.
"His birthday was stuck in a secluded room, where he was ill, and sick, and alone," Ahmad said. "So I thought, if I was in his shoes I'd be pretty upset because I'm spending my birthday in the hospital, so I came up with the birthday project."
Ahmad quickly got to work fundraising. She raised about $1,500 so people she'd never met could celebrate with a slice of cake and cheer, starting the project at the hospital where it all began.
"Let's start local, let's start doing things for people who are ill, here," Ahmad said. "Let's start doing things for the elderly here, so that's when and I was like the birthday project has to happen."
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Now, the idea's spread to other local hospitals.
"To have someone, at her age, being able to think about our patients and our community, at that level, really was passionate to me," said the manager of volunteer services at WakeMed, Jackie Kennedy.
Despite all the passion behind the project, Ahmad can't go to any of the birthday parties she's made possible.
"We could not really do it considering HIPAA," she said. "Everything is (done) by raising money and making the nurses do it for us, so I was like 'alright, as long as the birthdays happen, then I'm happy.'"
Her project is spreading happiness to others like Al Bullock, who's recovering from spinal surgery and celebrating his 65th birthday Tuesday.
"I'm ready to get out of rehab," Bullock said. "But if I've got to be in it, today's the day and I'm enjoying it."
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