Julianna Powell was thinking about what she wanted to do for her ninth birthday five weeks ago. What she decided on surprised her mother.
"She said to me, 'Mom, I feel like I want to do a car wash for a needy child,'" said Susan Powell. "She said, 'For my birthday, that's what I want to do.' I kept thinking, 'Oh my gosh, this is my daughter?'"
At first Julianna didn't know exactly who she wanted to help, but then she heard about 3-year-old Kyler Paul Finch and his mysterious heart virus.
"When she heard about what was going on with little Kyler she said, 'That's what it's for,' said her mom."She said, 'don't buy a present for me -- spend your money on Kyler.'"
So Julianna, her mom, and anyone else who wants to help will be washing cars at Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse on the corner of Roop Street and Fairview Drive today from 10 a.m. until noon.
"I imagine that people will come and donate their money even if it's a disappointing car wash," Julianna said. She hopes to get eight volunteers total -- four for each station.
"I want to have a washing station and a drying station," she said.
Her mother said Julianna organized the whole thing. One of the problems she faced was all her friends being out of town for vacation. Her mom suggested she wait until they return but Julianna wouldn't have it.
"She said, 'They need the money now -- let's do it right away. My friends and I have fun all the time.
The long-haired 8-year-old met Kyler one time at a baptism.
"All I know is he was really hyper," she said.
Kyler's mom, Nikki Finch, said her boy has lost energy since the unknown infection caused swelling in his heart.
"I took him to the park everyday before this happened," she said. "Otherwise he would drive me nuts -- normally he's very, very hyper. Now he's just been sitting, watching TV and sleeping."
Julianna said she wants to help Nikki and Paul Finch pay for their son's treatment.
"I'm giving the money to his parents to pay for his medication and just to help them."
Julianna, a student at Seeliger Elementary, is also a dancer and is interested in gymnastics.
"When it comes to gymnastics and dance she's incredibly strong," said her mother. "And she loves to write stories and draw pictures about the stories she has written."
Julianna's father, Jim Powell, is the director of the Volunteers of America Emergency Shelter for Carson City. Jim and Susan Powell have two other daughters: Mikaela, 6, and Carinne, 13, as well as two foster babies -- 6 months and 16 months.
IF YOU GO
What: Car wash organized by young girl to benefit sick boy
When: 10 a.m.-noon today
Where: Lowe's Home Improvement Warehouse parking lot at 444 Fairview Drive
How much: Make a donation or help wash cars
YOU CAN HELP
Send a donation to help support the Finches in dealing with Kyler's heart condition:
Nikki and Paul Finch
216 South Carson Meadows
Carson City, NV 89701