AUBURN — Instead of spending the hard-earned money she made after working over the summer on shopping as she originally planned, Cecilia Pfeiffer had something else in mind.
Cecilia, 10, said she was so inspired by the candlelight vigil on addiction held in Auburn Aug. 30 that she decided to donate $75 she earned over the summer to the Cayuga County Heroin Epidemic Action League. Cecilia and her mother Angelica Reyes, who is on the league's board, gave the funds to the league before a meeting at East Hill Family Medical on Tuesday night.
The donation was presented to league president Lon Fricano. Cecilia, Fricano and Reyes all had large smiles on their faces as Cayuga County Sheriff Brian Schenck, who was present at the meeting, snapped a picture to commemorate the moment. Cecilia, who made the money over the summer through tasks such as helping her mother around the house, said the vigil and the number of people who have died or that have been affected by addiction prompted her to action.
"I wanted to help by donating all the money to help them stop it," she said.
Reyes said she is extremely proud of her daughter, adding that she decided to take Cecilia shopping for those clothes. Reyes said Cecilia had been concerned about those dealing with addiction after attending the vigil.
"They need clothes and there's a lot of stuff that they need, and she goes, 'I want to take the money that I earned and I want to give it to them so that way it can help,'" Reyes said.
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Fricano said before the donation that he was deeply touched by Cecilia's offer.
"It put shivers up my spine and it brought tears to my eyes, this overwhelming feeling of love coming from this little 10-year-old," he said.
Fricano added after the donation that Cecilia's "personal sacrifice is not something that you see everyday."
Joel Campagnola, whose son died of an overdose, also attended the meeting and said he was "honored to be sitting here" with Cecilia.
"I'm glad to see that this is what we have coming behind us," said Campagnola, who founded Nick's Ride 4 Friends, an annual motorcycle ride that supports the nonprofit Auburn opioid recovery organization that got its name from the event.