Kennedy Gallagher turned 7-years-old on Wednesday, August 11. But instead of the typical games and toys other kids ask for, young Gallagher requested monetary donations to be given to three important causes: Cystic Fibrosis, Pediatric Cancers and Transverse Myelitis.
Gallagher is trying to do her part to help find cures for sickness.
Gallagher has been personally affected by these three diseases. Gallagher's aunt, Joan Hersker, is suffering from transverse myelitis, while her friend Charlie has cystic fibrosis. Kids at school, family members and the late Alexandra Scott of Alex's Lemonade Stands all perked Gallagher's interest in pediatric cancers.
Scott was under the care of the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, where Gallagher's mother is the pharmacy manager and where the Alex's Lemonade Stand contributions go toward.
Originally, Gallagher wanted to have her own lemonade stand but then opted for something a little different. She planned on donating her birthday presents to charity but ended up asking for money that could be donated to find cures.
Amy Gallagher, Kennedy's mother, organized a "Picnic in the Park" themed birthday party for her daughter's family, friends and classmates. About 30 kids and 30 adults gathered in East Vincent Township Park on Saturday, Aug. 14, to celebrate Gallagher's seventh birthday.
Invitations explained Gallagher's plan and asked for donations in lieu of presents. However, some guests still gave gifts in addition to their contributions.
"It was very nice of people to go above and beyond and do that," Amy Gallagher said.
Gallagher's favorite part of the party was the water balloon toss, but she also enjoyed the baseball, basketball and soccer games. The park's playground and swing sets were another source of fun at the party.
Ed Gallagher, Kennedy's father, served as chef for the event while little brother Mac also helped out a lot.
"We've participated but never ran a benefit before," Amy Gallagher said. "We're involved with community activities. Any time we have the chance, we try to participate in anything community related."
The $510 raised through birthday donations was divided into thirds for each of the national foundations.
"It's hard for kids to give, even though they want to," said Amy Gallagher. "It's a great way to help people with diseases. We're proud of Kennedy. It's hard to give up presents, but she knows it's worth it."
Gallagher said her friends thought the idea was cool. She wants to encourage more kids to donate.
"Other kids should try it. It feels good to collect the money," said Kennedy Gallagher.
Gallagher is planning an Alex's Lemonade Stand in September with neighbors. The Gallaghers are thinking about doing a similar donation event for Mac's birthday in April.
"We were very happy with the response," Amy Gallagher said.
Gallagher and her family thank everyone who came out and donated.
Gallagher will soon be entering the second grade at East Vincent Elementary School. Last year, she attended East Pikeland Elementary.