A little Beaver Creek girl with a big heart | VailDaily.com

A little Beaver Creek girl with a big heart

Melanie Wong
Vail, CO Colorado
Theo Stroomer/Vail DailyAs parents Leo Luna, left, and Nubia Valle, right, look on, Gabby Unicume, 11, holds twenty-day-old infant Camila Luna Valle at the Eagle Care Clinic, where she gives out gifts.

EDWARDS ” Gabby Unicume certainly doesn’t look like Santa.

The angelic-looking 11-year-old with long dark hair and a soft voice may not have a beard and a red suit, but she brings smiles to children’s’ faces just the same.

For the third year, Gabby has brought presents for children and their families at the Eagle Care Clinic in Edwards.

“This is for you,” she said, presenting two surprised girls seated in the waiting room with Disney princess dolls and a book. “Merry Christmas!”

“Gabby really likes the kids. She’s been coming in for a few years now, and it’s so nice to see that in such a young girl,” said nurse practitioner Diane Purse.

Patients in the clinic range from newborns to 12-year-olds, who come in to see the doctor for everything from checkups to chronic disease management. The gifts can be very meaningful to many of the families, said the clinic’s manager, Beth Reilly.

“This is the time of the year we think about giving and being with our families. All the families we serve are uninsured. They face enormous hardships in their lives that go beyond just health,” she said.

One mother of a 9-month-old baby, who had been going through some hard times, began crying when Gabby presented her with a Wal-Mart gift card, the office staff said.

The mother had not thought she would be able to buy her daughter a Christmas gift this year, but now thanks to Gabby, she can.

“There are a lot of families like that here,” said Purse.

Gabby, a Beaver Creek resident, said the gift-giving started several Christmases ago when her parents gave her and her three brothers a certain amount of money to do community service. Gabby wanted to do something with the hospital, and her home-school teacher at the time suggested she visit the Eagle Care Clinic.

“I really liked the children and parents’ reactions. I liked being able to help people who needed to be taken care of and help kids who are sick,” Gabby said.

So every year, Gabby has taken her money to Wal-Mart and the Bookworm, and loaded up on toys, books and gift cards.

Although Gabby is only 11, she is no stranger to giving.

She and her family have done Christmas present programs before, and they are also involved with a nonprofit Christian center for disadvantaged children in Los Angeles, she said.

At the Eagle Care Clinic, Gabby spent the morning and afternoon scouting out the people seated in the waiting room and visiting patients in the exam rooms.

Gabriella Gutierrez and Israel Obeso of Gypsum were in the clinic for a pregnancy checkup ” Gutierrez is 8 months pregnant with a boy, Brandon ” when Gabby presented them a gift card.

It was a nice surprise, Obeso said.

“This will definitely help us. We’re very poor,” he said.” We’ll probably use it for food, and presents for the family.”

Eagle residents Elizabeth and Carmen Saucedo, ages 8 and 11, were gleefully comparing the Cinderella and Belle princess dolls that Gabby had just given them.

“I was surprised and happy,” Elizabeth said of the gifts. “Belle is my favorite princess.”

Staff Writer Melanie Wong can be reached at 748-2928 or mwong@vaildaily.com.

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