CHARLESTON, W.Va.--Jaylyn Pepper's birthday party this evening in Ravenswood will include colorful decorations and crafts for kids.
However, Jaylyn, who turned 9 on Veteran's Day, has requested no gifts for herself.
Instead, guests are to bring items for cancer patients such as hats, scarves and toboggans. During her Thanksgiving break, her mother will drive her to deliver these items to Charleston Area Medical Center's David Lee Cancer Center.
Jaylyn has seen friends and family struggle with cancer.
She was in preschool when she lost a classmate, Kaylee Miihlbach, due to a malignant brain tumor. Her great-grandfather, Jerry Rhodes, died of lung cancer last September at the age of 70. Her grandfather, Butch Pepper, had lung cancer but has been in remission for more than 20 years.
Her first-grade teacher, a breast cancer survivor, has helped plan Jaylyn's birthday party.
There will be a table set up with crafts for the kids to make cards for cancer patients. These will be delivered with the gifts. Decorations will be ribbons to represent different kinds of cancer such as gold for childhood cancer, white for lung and pink for breast. A table will be set up so guests may bring pictures of loved ones who have battled cancer.
Is Jaylyn a bit sad about not receiving gifts for herself?
"No," she said.
She hopes the collection of cards and presents will bring encouragement to others.
"I hope it will keep them warm and help them a little with their cancer, just to keep them secure," she said.
The party is set for 5 p.m. today at North United Methodist Church in Ravenswood where friends, relatives and church members will gather. Jaylyn, daughter of Misty and Colby Pepper, has a younger sister, 5-year-old Cayla. The family lives in Silverton.