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Kentucky 9-Year-Old Raising Money For St. Jude

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OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) - A western Kentucky boy is raising money for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis.


Gavin Howard, who will be 9 next month, told The Messenger-Inquirer that he has set a goal of raising $1,000 by his birthday. He is selling T-shirts and sweatshirts in order to meet his goal.


His mother, Jenny Howard, said her son first decided to donate to the hospital two years ago during a radio-thon fundraiser after listening to stories about his peers.


"I was driving and looked over at him, and he had tears in his eyes," Howard said.


That year he donated $45 that he had received for his seventh birthday. Last year, he donated $322 that he collected for his eighth birthday.


He wanted to do more this year, so he decided to sell items.


"He wanted to have a bake sale to give people something for their money, but I'm not the best cook, so we had to think of something else," Jenny Howard said.


The black shirts have the words "Peace, Love, Cure" written in gold on the front.


He's planning to speak about his efforts during a WBKR radio fundraiser for St. Jude on Jan. 31.


"I'm pretty close to the goal," Gavin said. "It's kind of hard work, but a lot of people are giving everywhere. It feels good to give."


Gavin attends Mary Carrico Catholic School and enjoys riding four-wheelers, playing sports, playing games and attending church with his parents and two brothers.


"I like listening to the homilies. It's important to pray and thank God," he said. "I feel connected to the St. Jude kids, so I pray that they can be healthy."
Gavin said he aspires to become a priest when he grows up so that he can continue helping others."He has a big heart, and he's a role model for us," his father, William Howard, said. 

"When he was 2 or 3, he'd say he wanted to be the pope and he's held on to that. We just thank God he understands what's going on and tries to do something about it."

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