HUNTSVILLE, Ala - An 11-year-old girl raising money to help kids battling cancer has reached her fundraising goal of $50,000. WHNT News 19 first told you about Kaitlyn earlier this month. She runs 5K's, 10K's and even half marathons to collect donations for the Jesse Rees Foundation. Now, she is planning to celebrate reaching her milestone in a big way.
When Kaitlyn found out she reached her goal, she literally jumped for joy. Only 24 hours earlier, her story aired on WHNT News 19. She was $1,500 away from the $50,000 goal.
"It was really cool. Just like seeing how people when I got really close people were just like donating as much as they could so that I could reach my goal," she said.
Kaitlyn has been raising money for the Jesse Rees foundation since she was 7. The foundation provides care for children battling cancer and their families by delivering 'Joy Jars', which are gifts to help cure a bad day.
"We actually got to help deliver the 'Joy Jars' and it made me feel really good just seeing them smile even though they're going through something really rough, Kaitlyn said.
And now she is celebrating in a very unique way. She is going to shave her head. The 11-year-old hopes it will help raise awareness. Her mom, Nina has scheduled her "go bald" event for January 5th. Support is already pouring in.
"This go-bald event was just going to be something small, simple, people wanted to come to watch we needed a space. And it has just turned into so many people supporting her and the amount of companies who are just yeah we'll donate something here's this here's this. It's been great," Nina Lee said.
And as for Kaitlyn's next fundraising goal....."It was 100,000? How do you say it? 100,000 is my new goal," Kaitlyn said.
A big number for a small girl with a very inspirational story.
The "go bald" event will be held at the Matrix gym in Huntsville at 4:30 p.m. on January 5. There will be a raffle and silent auction. Several local businesses have already donated items for the event. Kaitlyn is using the event to kickstart her new goal of raising $100,000.