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Teen gives up birthday booty to bring in funds to fight breast cancer

For her 13th birthday, southwest resident Kimberlee Wiggins didn’t want pretty clothes, the latest pop music album or even a pony. She wanted her guests to make donations to fight breast cancer.

In early December, that’s exactly what she got. Her family rented a multipurpose room at a nonprofit rate at the Winchester Cultural Center, and scores of friends and family showed up and had a great time while making charitable donations.

"She came up with the idea on her own, and it kind of snowballed," said Kimberlee’s father Brian Wiggins. "She did a lot of the organizing. But a lot of people got involved."

Kimberlee got the idea when she attended a wedding for two cancer survivors who turned their wedding into a fundraising event for the American Cancer Society.

Her family used to live near the Winchester Cultural Center but now lives in Mountain’s Edge. Kimberlee attends dance classes with the Star Catchers at the center, so it made sense to host her party there to accommodate her dance friends. The center staff was happy to have them.

The room was decorated in pink, pink and more pink. The middle of the room was filled with young girls laughing and dancing. Parents sat at long tables on the side and watched approvingly and noshed on cupcakes and candy in between cancer awareness activities and fundraising.

"We gave everyone a balloon to dedicate to someone who had died of cancer, and we launched them all at once," Kimberlee said. "We had a memory tree, and people could buy tags to put on the tree in memory of someone they had lost to cancer."

Brian Wiggins said a lot of their friends and family are dealing with cancer.

"Her grandmother is a cancer survivor," he said. "A couple of weeks after Kimberlee started planning the party, my stepmother passed away from cancer."

It was clear from the beaming smile on her face that Kimberlee didn’t miss getting presents for her birthday, or at least she was more interested in helping others have a future.

"I think I’m going to do fundraisers for a lot of things now," she said.

Contact Sunrise/Whitney View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at ataylor@viewnews.com or 380-4532.

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