By MATT CRANE
Even Kaytlyn Hurst is surprised by her successful summer venture.
Hurst began her summer vacation with a simple idea that has grown into a charitable charge.
“I started making the bracelets after school let out at the beginning of the summer,” Hurst said. “My mom and I went and bought the kit together.”
Hurst said it was on the car ride home her mother began asking her what she wanted to do with the accessories she would fashion.
“She said, ‘Kaytlyn, I’ve always known that you wanted to make something and sell it,’ but I didn’t know what to sell them for,” she said. “Then I said, ‘I never think about St. Jude,’ so I’m doing it for them.”
As of Thursday, Hurst was a mere $66 away from reaching her goal of giving $1,000 to the children’s research hospital.
Susan Hurst, Kaytlyn Hurst’s mother, said she has been amazed at the response her daughter has received.
“When she decided on this, I told her if she wanted to do it she would have to be committed to it,” Susan Hurst said. “I never thought it would get this far.”
Susan Hurst said her daughter’s first goal was to raise $100 and when it became clear they would surpass it, she and Kaytlyn began to up the ante.
“When we got to $600, she said, “Let’s try for $1,000,’” Susan Hurst said. “I didn’t have as much faith in it as she did.”
Susan Hurst said she and Kaytlyn went on a shopping spree for toys Saturday in preparation for their donation.
“When she started, I talked with St. Jude at the beginning of the summer,” Susan Hurst said. “They emailed me a list of toys that can and can’t be taken, and we’ll be meeting them in Memphis at the hospital on Tuesday.”
Because of age restrictions at the hospital, Kaytlyn Hurst is not allowed to tour St. Jude until she is 16, so the Hursts will meet at the Danny Thomas pavilion.
“The only thing I want for my sixteenth birthday is to go tour St. Jude’s,” Kaytlyn Hurst said. “I want to do this every summer, but I also want to do this my whole life.”
Susan Hurst said many people with connections to the hospital have been supportive.
“So many people who have come through have known someone that’s been at St. Jude,” Susan Hurst said. “It’s gotten so much bigger than her.”
Susan Hurst said she and her daughter would be selling bracelets Monday at William Wells Tire and Auto Repair before leaving for Memphis.
William Wells is located at 1250 Hwy. 182 in Starkville.
For more information on St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, visit http://www.stjude.org .