By Joseph Robertia
While there are many lessons that are easy for kids to learn, having empathy for others can sometimes be more challenging for younger kids who haven’t quite passed the developmental stage of assuming the world revolves around them. But for one 10-year-old Soldotna girl, the ability to understand what another person is going though has already been embraced.
“Some people don’t have what I have and I wanted to help them have more,” said Emma Mullet, who had an idea to hold a five-kilometer walk/run in Kenai on Saturday to raise funds for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, which works toward cures and prevention for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. No children are denied treatment based on their family’s ability to pay.
Emma’s mother, Monica Mullet, said that both her daughters have cared about issues larger than their own. Her oldest daughter, Thera, started a recycling program at her school, while Emma has been focused on St. Jude for several years.
“She’s always been very giving, but a few years ago she had a representative from St. Jude speak to her kindergarten class. She came home that day and smashed her piggy bank wanting to donate, and she’s given ever since,” Mullet said.
Mullet is touched by Emma’s charitable inclination, but also understands firsthand empathy for a sick child. When Emma was 18 months old, doctors deduced that she had an enlarged thymus gland, which can be indicative of a tumor. For two weeks the family had to wait for test results, fearing the worst. In the end Emma did not have a life-threatening tumor, but the family never forgot that feeling.
“That process of waiting and worrying really taught us all empathy for what parents really going through it are dealing with, and we’ve never forgotten it,” she said.