Calia LeBranti made the most of turning 10 during a pandemic.
The West Elementary student spent her birthday last Wednesday chatting with friends and family on Zoom, then her family surprised her with a car parade outside their home on Penacook Place.
"We feel like it was a special birthday for her and it was unique," said Calia's mother, Nadine. "And as much as we want to be with our friends and family, we made the best of it."
Eighteen cars drove past the LeBranti's home. Calia's friends held signs outside the windows and one took it to another level, gripping blue streamers while standing up through a sunroof.
And as much as Calia enjoyed the celebration, she also wanted to give back. So, this year she decided to donate most of her birthday money to Lawrence General Hospital in order to assist those working on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic.
"I just wanted to do something for people doing the COVID-19 stuff," said Calia. "I felt bad they could have been sick or something and they have to deal with the people that are sick."
In order to fulfill her birthday wish, Calia's family called Lawrence General Hospital and asked how they could donate. Hospital officials responded by saying they'd like some pizza.
So, Calia bought 10 pizzas from Sal's Pizza and donated them to the hospital workers in the COVID-19 units of LGH.
The free meal didn't go unnoticed. The healthcare workers who enjoyed Calia's gift responded by sending her a "thank you" video where they sang "happy birthday."
"They are heroes," said Calia. "They have to help all the people and they are working 24/7."