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Teen Turns Birthday Party Into Benefit for Cancer Patients

McKenzie Zepp, 13, of Westminster, asked guests to her birthday party to donate to Carroll Hospital Center rather than give her gifts.

Pictured from left to right are, Karen Alban, R.N., B.S.N., O.C.N., director of Carroll Hospital Center’s oncology services; David Salinger, M.D., radiation oncology; McKenzie Zepp; Flavio Kruter, M.D., hematology and oncology, and medical director o
Pictured from left to right are, Karen Alban, R.N., B.S.N., O.C.N., director of Carroll Hospital Center’s oncology services; David Salinger, M.D., radiation oncology; McKenzie Zepp; Flavio Kruter, M.D., hematology and oncology, and medical director o

A news release from Carroll Hospital Center:

McKenzie Zepp, a 13-year-old Westminster resident, donated $1,038 to Carroll Hospital Center’s Carroll Regional Cancer Center on Jan. 10 to benefit cancer patients.

She made the donation in memory of Gina Maria Barnes, a family acquaintance, who passed away from cancer in November 2013.

McKenzie collected the funds during her 13th birthday party, held on Jan. 3, when she requested that all her friends and family make a donation to the hospital’s cancer center in lieu of gifts. About 50 people attended the party and happily obliged.

McKenzie was inspired to collect funds in lieu of birthday gifts after her cousin did the same to assist a local animal shelter. She says at first she didn’t know where she wanted to make a donation until Barnes, whom she knew through youth sporting events, died of cancer.

“I wanted to donate to the cancer center in [her] memory because she was really close to my family and it was really sad what happened,” McKenzie said.

At her birthday party, McKenzie was extremely happy with the turnout and with everyone’s generosity towards such a worthy cause. “It makes me feel really glad that people donated,” she said. “We are probably helping people and saving lives.”

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