Birthday wishes for most kids usually center around new toys and fun with their friends, but one Kearney girl wasn't thinking about her own wishes on her big day.
Six-year-old Emma Heacock asked her friends and family, not for toys, but for donations to the Make-A-Wish Foundation for her birthday. In all, Emma raked in over $200 dollars in support of the foundation this year and she doesn't plan to stop there.
Emma has dedicated her past two birthdays to the foundation, since she was 5-years-old, and has raised more than $400 all together.
The six-year-old says she wants to continue to do this every year for her birthday until she has brought in enough money to pay for an entire wish.
"I want to send kids to Disney Land," said Emma.
It's one of her favorite places and a common wish for the foundation to grant. A Disney wish costs $7,500 and Emma has it all planned out. She and her mom estimate it will take until her 15th birthday, nine more years, to reach that goal. Emma doesn't mind giving up the presents one bit.
"I've been blessed and I want to bless others," said the 6-year-old. She knows she is lucky and this is her simple reason for paying it forward.
Hannah Stone, V.P. of Make-A-Wish in central Nebraska said Emma demonstrates "the best kind of giving."
Stone accepted the donation from Emma, thanking her for her generosity and admiring what her friends and family call her "big heart."
Stone said that the foundation grants a variety of wishes, from shopping sprees to trips to Hawaii and that no matter how big or small a wish is they make it special for the children.
Even a trip to get a kitten is made more exciting. "We'll pick them up in a limo, they'll go to lunch and then the limo will take them to the breeder or pet store," said Stone.
She said the foundation survives on donors like Emma. They don't receive and federal or state money and utilize their hundreds of volunteers to keep the wishes coming.
It all starts with a wish referral from someone who knows the child or even the child themselves.
They are always looking for more help, both from donors and volunteers. To learn more about how to volunteer, donate or refer a child for a wish visit http://nebraska.wish.org/.