Maddie Boerema, 7, had only made it a couple of steps into the family birthing center at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital when she heard the cries of a newborn baby.

“It sounds so cute,” she said with excitement.

With a smile from ear to ear, Maddie ran down the hall as an obstetrics nurse took her into a room to visit with a new baby and its mother.

“The baby was sleeping,” Maddie told her parents as she left the birthing center. “The mom looked very happy. They were getting ready to go home. I told her to have fun.”

Maddie, a second-grader from Free Soil, Michigan, was given a tour of the family birthing center after she decided to donate money from her lemonade stand to the Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital Foundation.

Her mom, Heather Boerema, said it was Maddie’s idea to have a lemonade stand and donate the money to the hospital.

“I thought she was going to use the money to buy toys or candy, but she said she wanted to give it to the hospital because she knows the hospital helps people,” Heather said. “She’s a very kind little girl.”

With a sandwich bag full of quarters and dollar bills, Maddie donated the lemonade stand’s proceeds to Kaley Petersen, foundation director.

“I asked Maddie if she had a certain cause or purpose she wished to use her money toward, and let her know about our efforts to upgrade the family birthing center,” Petersen said. “After sharing the story of helping new mommies and babies, she felt strongly that’s where the money should go.”

Maddie, the foundation’s youngest donor, was excited about helping new babies.

“I like their tiny hands and feet,” she told Petersen.

“What a heart of gold this little girl has,” Petersen said. “I think we can all learn from Maddie’s kindness and generosity. No matter the age or dollar amount, every donor and every dollar makes a difference.”

Maddie’s donation will benefit the family birthing center at Spectrum Health Ludington Hospital. Just as many rural hospitals are closing the doors on obstetrics units, Ludington Hospital is planning to expand its unit. The hospital is in the early stages of planning for a new birthing center.