COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - What started as a visit from the tooth fairy for one 5-year-old Lexington girl has turned into thousands of dollars raised to help sick children in the hospital in less than one month's time.
"When she had her wiggly tooth, she decided she wanted to donate her money -- whatever she got from the Tooth Fairy -- for the kids that are sick at the hospital," Michelle Coppock said about her daughter, Rabun.
Rabun's parents, Michelle and Andrew, say they were surprised to hear her response but even more surprised at how much she expected the Tooth Fairy to leave.
"She kept saying she wanted $100," Michelle said. "So, the Tooth Fairy brought her $100, and the next day we said, 'Let's take your money and put it in the bank.' She said, 'No, I told you I want to buy toys for the sick kids at the hospital.'"
And that's exactly what they did. In mid-September, Rabun's parents matched what the Tooth Fairy left behind and they bought a basket full of toys. That would only be the beginning.
"Because I want them to feel good," Rabun said. "Because they can't play outside."
Rabun has turned her one time ask into an effort to help as many kids as possible through the local nonprofit Happy Wheels. Happy Wheels visits sick children on the inpatient floors at all three of South Carolina's children's hospitals to deliver toys and books for free. To help support their mission, Rabun's sold snow cones and popcorn outside her house and at Clemson home games she asks anyone who is willing to donate.
"I just say, 'Could you give me money for a Happy Wheels donation?'" Rabun said while smiling.
Rabun also gets a little help from her dad.
"He has orange goggles, and an orange hat and a purple suit," she added.
Known as "Purple Man" around Tiger Town, this dynamic duo is hard to say no to. To date, the Coppocks have raised more than $8,000 for Happy Wheels in less than a month.
"We have been struggling a little bit financially lately and so truly we have been praying for a family like the Coppocks to come along," Tracey Rankin, founder of Happy Wheels, said. "The selflessness displayed by a little girl, it really just inspires so many people which is evident with the Coppocks and Rabun, because people have just been pouring into this little girl to give to Happy Wheels, and we are so humbled and so grateful."
That's why Mungo Homes wanted to surprise Rabun with the news that she's our latest Community Builder. Her teachers and classmates at her elementary school in Lexington One were there for the surprise. It's made her fellow classmates proud, and her parents overwhelmed.
"I'm so proud of her," Michelle said.
For the people with the Michael J. Mungo Foundation, selecting Rabun was a no-brainer.
"Rabun exemplifies what each of us should be doing every day and that is loving others more than you love yourself," said Kim O'Quinn, marketing director with Mungo Homes. "What a gift for her to have that giant heart, and what a gift for all of us to see someone so young set such a great example not just for other children but also for adults."
As a community builder, Rabun received a $1,000 donation from the Michael J. Mungo Foundation which will go right to Happy Wheels.
Rabun has a goal of raising $10,000 for the charity, which the family is hoping to surpass, so if you'd like to learn more or help donate to her goal, visit the Happy Wheels website where you can make a donation in honor of Rabun's Fundraising.