Nine-year-old Megan Abbott enjoys sports and being physically active, which is why she is involved in so many programs during the Bristol Youth Football and Cheer offseason.
When Abbott isn’t cheering for the 10-and-under Bristol Bulldogs cheerleaders, she is involved in dance, swimming and gymnastics.
As if that was not enough, Abbott is also involved in Tae Kwon Do and recently received her second-degree black belt.
However, sports are not Abbott’s passion. What makes her happy is the desire to give back to the community and those who are in need.
It started in 2004 when Abbott began to clean out her old toys for new ones on Christmas. Abbott’s mother, Cindy, often reminded her of the many less fortunate children who did not have toys like she did. Megan Abbott decided she would donate her toys to a women’s shelter so the children there would have things to play with while they were waiting for a new home.
A year later Abbott found herself in Connecticut Children’s Medical Center after swallowing a hair clip, which got stuck in her stomach. For a week, Abbott was in and out of the hospital until doctors finally performed endoscopic surgery to remove it.
After experiencing in just a day what some children deal with for months in the hospital, Abbott told her mom she wanted the kids in the hospital to have more. Therefore, instead of a birthday party, Abbott wanted to throw a “donation party.”
The requirement was for anyone attending her birthday party to bring either a cash donation or toys for the children and Connecticut Children’s Medical Center. In doing so, Abbott was able to raise $1,500 in cash and donated items.
While at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, Abbott met children going through cancer treatment who had lost their hair. She wondered how she could help these children feel better about themselves, and then she heard about the “Locks of Love” program — a non-profit organization which provides hairpieces to disadvantaged children suffering from long-term medical hair loss.
Abbott didn’t think twice and quickly asked her mother if she could donate her hair. She wound up cutting off her 11-inch ponytail and donated it to “Locks of Love.”
“We were very proud of her,” Cindy Abbott said of her daughter. “Hair for girls is very personal and tied to how they feel about themselves. For her to want to cut it for someone else was amazing to me.”
When Megan Abbott was eight, she started to develop a love for animals and began volunteering at the Meriden Humane Society. It was there she saw how much food and supplies are needed to care for animals that are neglected.
Abbott decided the best way she could help those animals was to have another “donation party.” She asked friends and family coming to her birthday party to each bring donations, food and supplies for local animal shelters.
Amazingly, Abbott raised $1,000 in food and supplies, and donated the money to small independent rescue operations like Blanket and Bowls located in Ridgefield.
The giving and caring of Abbott still doesn’t stop there.
On April 15, 2013, while watching the Boston Marathon, Abbott’s cousin Heather Abbott suffered severe injuries to her leg when she fell victim to one of the two pressure-cooker bombs that killed three people and injured over 200 others.
With the help of her mother, Megan Abbott created “Megan Makes a Difference,” a charitable organization to raise money for her cousin and other charities.
Abbott plans on holding a walkathon along with other fundraisers to help her cousin cope with her injuries.
“We could not be more proud of Megan,” Cindy Abbott said. “We feel we are doing something right raising such a sweet and thoughtful young lady.”
For more information on “Megan Makes a Difference,” visit youcaring.com/meganmakesadifference.
See WFSB's Feature on Megan Abbott here: