ALMA, GA (WALB) - Brailyn Turner is a 4th grader with a big heart and even bigger goals, and she used both to help raise money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Her school, Bacon County Elementary, is hosting a St. Jude Math-A-Thon this week. The event helps kids learn math while fundraising money for St. Jude. The school's goal this year was to raise $5,000 and Brailyn wants to help contribute as much as she can to help make that happen.
Brailyn's mom, Brittany Turner, set a $350 goal for Brailyn, but she had bigger aspirations. She wanted to raise $1,000, covering 20 percent of the school's overall goal.
However, Brailyn's enthusiasm for St. Jude captured the hearts of people online and once she posted a video on Facebook, Brittany said the donations took off.
Brailyn told WALB that she was inspired to help because her piano teacher's granddaughter has cancer. She said she is thankful for all she has and wants to let God use her to help others who need it.
Last year, Brailyn raised about $180 and won a participation award, along with several others. Brailyn told her mom that the St. Jude award was the one that meant the most to her though.
When asked why Brailyn set such a big goal for herself, she said it was because she wanted to help more than one child.
"I knew it would help a lot of children, and I didn't want to help only one child, I wanted to help hundreds," said Brailyn.
"She gets it, life's more about than what we see, she lets God use her," said Brittany.
Brittany also said that Brailyn was a miracle child and that she knows what it's like to be a patient.
Brailyn was born 10 weeks early, weighing only 3 lbs. and 2 oz. When Brailyn was 14 months old, she was in a house fire with her grandmother. And at 4-years-old she had to have surgery on her Achilles heels because she walked on her toes and couldn't flatten her feet.
So, while Brittany was surprised at Brailyn's big goals, she knew her daughter was going to put everything she had into it.
"We want her to know she can set big goals and she can reach them, but she never does it alone," said Brittany.
Brittany told Brailyn that if she thought she could do it then her and Brailyn's dad would support her.
On Monday, Brailyn had raised $170 but got a big boost when she went to her dad's job and raised about another $300.
Then Brittany let Brailyn post a video on Instagram and by Tuesday afternoon she had raised almost $750. Brittany FaceTimed Brailyn and decided to give her a math equation.
"It's a Math-A-Thon, so she's gonna do some math," said Brittany.
When Brailyn realized she was only $258 from her $1,000, she started to cry.
So, Brittany had Brailyn send her another video that she could upload to Facebook and the donations took off from there.
Currently, Brittany said Brailyn has helped raise $2,535, more than half the school's goal this year, and there is still time for people to make donations.
If you would like to help Brailyn reach her new goal of $4,000, you have through November 2 to make a donation on Brailyn's St. Jude Math-A-Thon page.
Brittany said people were even donating change from their car to help Brailyn reach her goal.
Brailyn said she is grateful to everyone who made a donation, no matter how big or small it was. And she wants everyone to know one thing.
"Thank you for everyone who donated and just know that you're special and you're beautiful just the way you are," said Brailyn.
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