When MacKenzie Glisson, a senior at Southeast Bulloch High School and daughter of Joe and Kristen Glisson, used her talents to make a crafty bracelet of pearls and cord a couple of months ago, she wasn’t the only one that liked the simple yet elegant design. Friends and others admired the artwork and requested a similar piece.
The young entrepreneur put a great deal of thought into the endeavor, however, before selling any of her designs. “I wanted there to be a purpose behind it, something I could do with part of the profit,” said Glisson.
It didn’t take long for Glisson to decide what to do with part of her bracelet proceeds. She wanted to buy toys and coloring books, pajamas and diapers for children in the hospital.
Glisson has first-hand experience with the pediatric department of a hospital. When her younger sister, Reese, was born fifteen years ago, she had a type of hemangioma that required her to be in and out of the hospital for the first two years of her life and eventually resulted in more than forty surgeries.
Glisson sent one of her first donations to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Scottish Rite Hospital, the hospital that took care of her sister. “I thought it would be important to give back to them,” said Glisson.
But she also wanted to do something closer to home.
“I was listening to the radio while driving my sister to school and I heard them talking about the Children’s Hospital of Savannah. I looked at Reese and thought, ‘That’s it! That’s where I want these toys to go!’”
Glisson made and sold bracelets and spent five dollars of every bracelet for toys and also received what she said was “very generous donations” that allowed her to continue work towards her goal. The Southeast Bulloch Middle School Builders Club, a service project club that is a branch of the Brooklet Kiwanis, also donated toys to Glisson’s cause.
“I wanted to donate toys to the children to get their minds in a different place, so that the focus isn’t why they are in the hospital,” said Glisson.
Glisson and her mom delivered the toys and supplies last weekend, just in time for Christmas, to the Dwaine & Cynthia Willett Children’s Hospital of Savannah. “I know this is the first delivery, but it won’t be the last,” said Glisson.
Reese Glisson profoundly impacted her older sister, namely in her compassionate and giving spirit, but the younger sibling has also influenced Mackenzie Glisson’s future plans as well. “Probably since middle school, I knew I wanted to go to medical school. Reese’s bottom jaw grew faster and she needed a lot of surgeries.
“My sister has a beautiful smile. I think a smile goes a long way to make people feel comfortable with the way they look.”
Because of Reese’s smile, Mackenzie Glisson hopes to be an orthodontist one day. “I plan to attend Georgia Southern and major in biology, then transfer somewhere to dental school,” Glisson said. Currently, Glisson works part-time at Dr. Larry Hubbard’s dental practice where she says she’s had great support and encouragement in her future plans.
To order a bracelet from Glisson and benefit her toy drive, visit her Facebook page at Pearls 4 Pals. She also has an Instagram account and Etsy page in the same name.