Jayden Myers raised enough money this summer to buy more than 20 backpacks full of school supplies for her classmates in need.
The Emmitsburg 9-year-old’s big-hearted gesture seems even more charitable considering the health issues that sometimes take her out of school.
Jayden is living with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and amplified musculoskeletal pain.
She was diagnosed a few years ago. Though she animatedly chats and cuddles with her dog Baxter at home, she still feels pain in her joints.
“Some days, even if I try to get out of bed, I can’t do it,” she said.
She was in a Pittsburgh hospital for about two weeks in June when she started thinking about how she could help other people.
“It’s fun to care about people,” Jayden said.
With the help of her mom’s restaurant, Thurmont Kountry Kitchen, she hosted a bake sale.
“My mom does make some pretty good red velvet cakes,” Jayden said.
They raised money to buy backpacks, pencils, scissors, composition books, glue sticks, folders and dry erase markers for schools in Thurmont and Emmitsburg.
In all, Jayden’s “Fun Care” project filled 22 backpacks this year. Ten of them went to Emmitsburg Elementary School, where she’s in fourth grade.
Dr. Cathy Karchner, Jayden’s pediatrician at Gettysburg Pediatrics, said Jayden has few limitations despite her pain.
Jayden sometimes has trouble writing in school and opening some bottled drinks, but she’s enthusiastic that she can do anything she puts her mind to.
“One of the goals of treatment is for Jayden to participate in all of the activities that she wants to,” Karchner said.
Jayden’s mother, Sherry Myers, said they might expand the care program to include shoe vouchers, which children can use to get the shoes they need for school.
Being in and out of hospitals and doctors’ offices for the past two years has been tough, Sherry said, but Jayden is a special kid.
“I always smile every day, even when I’m sore,” Jayden said.