After last year’s earthquake in Haiti, when images of injured children flooded TV screens and the Internet, 17-year-old Dayna Troisi of West Islip, who was born without her left arm below the elbow, said she felt especially moved to show her support.
“I started helping after the disaster and I think a lot of people thought I could connect because I’m an amputee,” she said. “But I don’t understand what they’re going through. I’m perfectly fine.”
Troisi, a senior at West Islip High School, said she felt privileged to have had so many opportunities in her life and she wanted to help those who didn’t. She contacted the nonprofit organization A Leg To Stand On, which provides support services for disabled children around the world, and began fundraising for the organization and collecting donations of mobility devices.
By last spring, said had collected 50 pairs of crutches, 10 wheelchairs, two potty chairs, six orthopedic boots and three boxes of prosthetic equipment that could be broken down and assembled into whatever limbs their recipients needed.
She’s also raised nearly $15,000, said A Leg To Stand On Associate Director Gabriella Mueller.
“This year, our goal was to help 1,600 children, and Dayna is certainly helping us fulfill that target,” she said
For her hard work and success, ALTSO named Troisi the organization’s Humanitarian of the Year at its annual benefit in October. Locally, Troisi was recently awarded with a proclamation for her service by the Islip Town Board.
Mueller said Troisi is the youngest ongoing volunteer the organization has ever had.
“We rely very much on our volunteers,” she said. “In addition to the funds that she’s been able to raise and will continue raising, it’s the awareness she’s raising.”
Photo: Dayna Troisi, center, being honored by the Town of Islip for her work in raising funds and equipment for injured children in <a href="/topics/Haiti">Haiti</a>.