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Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez meets Kidsday reporters

Olympic medalist Laurie Hernandez with Damien Yau, left,

Olympic medalist Laurie Hernandez with Damien Yau, left, Emma Iocco, Sutton Drastal-Applegate and Jacob Kim at the St. Jude pop-up shop in Manhattan on Nov. 28. Credit: Newsday / Pat Mullooly

Giving Tuesday is the Tuesday after Thanksgiving. People give back to those who are less fortunate or who need a helping hand. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is a research hospital that treats children with cancer and other special needs. It is an amazing program that treats families for little to no cost, they rely on donations to run. This is why they have a day so people can donate their money and/or time to help people in need.

On this past Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28, there was a pop-up store in Manhattan. The store is a trailer and tent that they set up to raise money for St. Jude. At this Giving Tuesday Event there were two celebrities — Laurie Hernandez and Nick Swisher. We got the amazing opportunity to interview Laurie Hernandez and found out she is a very warm and friendly type of person!

Laurie is an Olympic gymnast who has won gold, silver and bronze medals. She also won on the TV show “Dancing with the Stars” last year, wrote a book titled “I Got This,” and she works with St. Jude Research Hospital. She is known as the “Human Emoji” because even though gymnasts are supposed to be stone faced, Laurie shows all of her emotions during her routines!

Emma asked Laurie how she became involved with St. Jude. She said when she was a young girl her mom taught her to help others, and so Laurie chose to work with St. Jude.

Damien asked her about how many kids recover from cancer at St. Jude Research Hospital every year. Although she did not know the exact number, she said a lot of people recover thanks to all of the wonderful people who donated.

From our interview, Damien also learned that Laurie decided that she wanted to be in the Olympics after coming in first place in a gymnastics program when she was 9. She wanted to see how far she could go with it. Laurie even told us that she was just like all of us. She makes mistakes and sometimes gets hurt. She said when she gets hurt it is her body telling her that she needs to take a break. She also said it is ok to make mistakes and later you can think about the mistakes and how you can do it differently next time.

Even with all her accomplishments, Laurie was humble. She even took her skills from gymnastics and put them into board games. Jacob asked her if she played the game “Fantastic Gymnastics” and she said, “That’s my game! Even though I only landed the poor little guy once. The other times he wiped out and fell over.”

What an experience in meeting this fabulous role model.

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