Brooklynite Elizabeth Carlin, known by her friends as Mizzie, is only 11 years old, yet has already given back to children with severe diseases more than most adults.
One of her best friends, who she’s known since pre-kindergarten, Jordan Sassone, was diagnosed with Phenylketonuria (PKU), a rare disorder in which a baby is born without the ability to break down an amino acid called phenylalanine properly.
“We’ve been friends for almost my entire life. He’s a year younger than me,” said Mizzie
“I knew that he had PKU for a long time and wanted to help him out.”
With that in mind, and with the help of her family, Mizzie started ‘10 For Jordan,’ a foundation dedicated to raising funds and awareness for an illness many are unaware exists. “Kids like Jordan have never had a cupcake, a slice of pizza and all those other things that we take for granted,” said Mizzie’s mother, Danielle.
Mizzie started a fundraising site on Crowdrise with a modest goal in mind. However, thanks to the generosity of Bay Ridgeites, the number grew quickly. “I started with a goal of $550 and we got past that on the second day. That was pretty amazing,” she said.
As the holidays approach, the site has raised nearly $4,000, which is 747 percent more than Mizzie’s original goal. “It felt really good to help out. His disease doesn’t get that much attention. It was really exciting to know that we were helping people learn about it and now it’s going to get more attention and research,” she continued. “I’m sure he appreciates it too.”
Mizzie also holds bake sales outside of local businesses with a sign describing the illness.
In addition to her work with ‘10 for Jordan,’ Mizzie also found inspiration in lending a helping hand to kids with cancer. She met a girl at the Go Gold Yarn Bomb event who has been diagnosed with leukemia. “Meeting her made me want to donate my hair to a child who doesn’t have any because of cancer,” Mizzie said.
On November 23, Mizzie donated 10 inches of her hair to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that makes wigs out of real human hair for children who have lost their hair due to medical conditions.
Mizzie wasn’t worried about the change. “My thought is that it’s just hair and it will grow back,” she said.
“She feels great and as a surprise her brother joined in and cut off 10 inches of hair to donate as well,” added Danielle.
When she’s not helping others, Mizzie attends P.S./I.S. 104, where her favorite subject is creative writing. “I like being able to create things and come up in characters.”
Last year, she won the Bay Ridge Community Council Essay Contest writing about pets. She also enjoys art, musical theater and Tao Kwon Do. Her work in the community also won her the title of civic leader of the month at school.
Mizzie’s parents continue to be her inspiration to help others. “My parents are definitely my role models,” she said.
“We are so proud of her and what she has done the past few months,” Danielle added.