"We can't save their lives but we can change them," she said.
The organization has already begun to take off around West Virginia and abroad.
Fitzwater met two other students at her program last summer who also shared her passion for pediatric care. They have since opened branches of the Pediatric Entertainment Program back at home.
One Texan student created a branch and funded the project through an oil tycoon from the area. A Chinese student has also founded a branch in Beijing through contacts at a local hospital where her mother works as a nurse.
The Chinese branch has leapt at the opportunity to snap up any available volunteers and now employs around 120 students. The Texan branch has only about 20.
The Charleston branch may soon follow suit.
Fitzwater has already begun to apply for nonprofit status and develop channels of communication among local colleges and hospitals.
Today, the organization operates entirely on donations
"We don't want to become a budget cut for hospitals," Fitzwater said.
Fitzwater has pursued alternate channels to get funding. She recently earned a grant for $10,000 from the cosmetics company AmWay. The winner was chosen from hundreds of contestants.
Each dollar they raise goes to furthering an overarching goal.
"We want to reach as many children as possible," Fitzwater said.Reach Laura Reston at laura.res...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5112.