11-year-old's business helps family in need have Christmas

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DORR, Mich. (WXMI) -- An 11-year old West Michigan girl is changing lives in her community one bouquet of flowers at a time.

Maggie Hartman started 'Maggie's Flowers' when she was just 5 years old. Ever since, she's been selling flowers to help buy Christmas gifts for families who otherwise couldn't afford them.

On Friday, Maggie and her mother got to meet one of those families they've recently helped.

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The garden behind Maggie's home in Dorr is starting to show signs of a winter to come. It's also a sign of all of the hard work Maggie has put in before the upcoming holiday season.

"I love doing it," said Hartman. "It makes me feel so happy and I love seeing all the people that I make happy."

For six years, Maggie has been growing flowers behind her home. She sells the bouquets for just a dollar at four different locations throughout Dorr, Hudsonville and Zeeland. This year, Maggie raised more than $4,000 for families in her community, like the Trolards.

"They say God doesn't put you through anything you can't handle," said Jamie Trolard. "That's pretty much the truth because we're handling it pretty well."

"We've got through it this far," said Tina Trolard, Jamie's wife.

Jamie was diagnosed with stage four small intestinal cancer two years ago. The cancer has spread to his lymph nodes, liver and other parts of his body. Tina says it's treatable, but not curable, and patients have less than a 5 percent chance of living more than five years after they're diagnosed.

"It's been a lot of hospital stays and a lot of time away from our girls," said Tina. "We've had a lot of faith. We've relied on other people to bring us through it and surround us with love, joy and passion to carry us through the last two years."

On Wednesday, Maggie and her mother showed up at Tina's bible study group with gifts: a birthday present for their 3-year-old daughter, Sophie, as well as gift cards, food and money from other families in their community.

"This 11-year old girl is so selfless," said Tina. "She doesn't even know our family or our daughters and she wanted to give our daughter a birthday present. She never met her before. How does an 11-year-old have that much compassion and love for others?"

The Trolards never heard of Maggie before that night, but they say she has changed their lives forever.

"We definitely feel a lot less alone," said Tina. "We are beyond blessed to live in the community that we live in. It's a beautiful place to live. The people here are beyond amazing and have gotten us so far. I don't think we would've gotten as far as we have without the community that we live in."

"Maggie just has a huge heart for people and I'm just trying to honor the heart that God gave her to serve other people," said Maggie's mother, Jil Hartman.

Maggie's Flowers has grown into a huge business venture, but a majority of it goes right back into the community she lives in. If you want to help with her cause, visit her website.

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