GILBERT, AZ — Over the last decade, since he was just five years old, Kai Martin has used his birthday to make a difference in the lives of those battling cancer.
“This is my tenth year now and we’ve raised over thirty-three thousand dollars which is just nuts to see how much it’s grown,” said Kai, Thursday.
Every year instead of receiving birthday gifts, Kai asks his friends, neighbors and community to give to his GoFundMe page. He was inspired to raise money for cancer research after being personally touched by this horrible disease.
“I lost my grandpa, I lost my nana to it, it stinks but it really is just more encouragement to try and help because cancer hasn’t gone away,” said Kai. “You never know when that last dollar will come and change that.”
“When he learned at a very young age what cancer can do, I remember saying to him you know, you know you’re giving up your presents, you don’t mean that, and he was like, no, I mean it and ten years later he is so passionate about it that it’s just kind of become who he is,” said Shannon Bodnar, Kai’s mom.
It’s a journey now being recognized by GoFundMe itself by naming Kai as one of the site's heroes.
“This series was kind of developed to celebrate those who are basically using the GoFundMe platform to change their communities and the world,” said Kelsea Little, the company’s head of brand storytelling.
Little say’s Kai is one of two people being honored this month, calling his dedication truly inspiring.
“We were so taken with Kai’s story, it’s not every day you meet a teenager who's so selfless, especially on the occasion of their birthday and the fact that Kai’s been using his birthday to raise funds for cancer research since he was five years old just blew me away,” stated Little.
The young man from Gilbert has been able to outdo himself each year by raising his goals along the way. He has been determined more than ever to prove anyone can make a lasting impact with a little sacrifice.
“There are good people in the world, those good people, if they come together, it can really help a cause,” said Kai.
A truth he continues to celebrate every single year.