The greatest gift - giving to others

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Madelyn Gathright of Monette had such a grand seventh birthday celebration that she decided she wanted to give someone else a present too. She decided to give all of her birthday money, totaling $105, to St. Jude Hospital in the name of her friend, Scout Lylery.

Madelyn Gathright of Monette gave her birthday money to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis. Pictured with Madelyn is her sister, Presley Gathright, and Monette St. Jude Fundraiser Linda Qualls. (Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)

Madelyn is a second grader at Buffalo Island Central West Elementary in Monette. Her teacher is Patricia Duffel.

"I have thought so much about Scout and how hard it must be to be that young and have cancer," Madelyn said. "Scout has two cousins in the first grade in my school and they talk about her all the time."

Madelyn is the daughter of Justin and Leah Gathright, and her family has always been supporters of St. Jude fundraisers. She naturally thought of St. Jude when she decided to give her money to a worthwhile cause.

Linda Qualls is the St. Jude Hospital campaign chairman for Monette and is a close friend of the Gathright family.

"I sent 15 letters to people I knew and encouraged them to give to St. Jude," Qualls said. "I learned later that the Gathrights had talked about it in their home. The look on Madelyn's face was priceless when she came up to me at church and handed me her birthday money for St. Jude. She was so serious. I could tell that she had given it a lot of thought and knew what she was doing.

"In Monette $400 was raised for St. Jude, and $105 of that came from a little girl with a big heart," Qualls said.

"I was a senior in high school when Dusty Wood died from cancer," Leah Gathright said. "He graduated in 1986 and died in 1987. His life and his treatment at St. Jude really made an impression on me, and I never forgot it. Our family has always been sensitive to young people who are being treated for cancer, and it looks like Madelyn picks up on that also."

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