Jess’ heart of gold

WHILE most 20-year-olds ask for cars, jewellery, tickets abroad and expensive gifts for their 21st, one young Mittagong resident has decided to give back.

Jess Fairbairn celebrates her 21st birthday on Saturday and instead of presents for herself, she’s asked her guests to buy for the children’s ward of Bowral Hospital.

“I wanted to do a good deed,” Jess said. “I have everything I need – I’m alive, healthy and happy, I don’t really need anything.”

She said she came up with the idea about two years ago, and being the kind of person who usually wrote lists of present ideas, her mother said she would believe it when the time came.

“Mum said she would believe it when my 21st came around. She’s really proud of me sticking to this idea.”

Jess said she wanted to donate to a local organisation, and with her background working with children’s services, the children’s ward of Bowral Hospital seemed like the perfect recipient.

Bowral Hospital director of clinical and support services David Ryan said the hospital was grateful for the kind donation.

“Play and diversional activities are an important aspect of caring for children, we are fortunate to live in such a supportive community”, Mr Ryan said.

Jess said she would also be putting a basket of gifts together.

“Walking into hospitals upsets me, and if little kids or even adults are there for a long time it’s good for them to have something to entertain them, like books or DVDs,” Jess said.

Her friends were all very supportive of her decision to give back.

Her friend Jessica Henze said at first she didn’t believe her.

“I couldn’t believe it at first, but it’s a really good idea and all of her friends have gotten behind her and think it’s the sweetest thing to do,” Jessica said.

Jess said her sister Kayla had been one of her biggest supporters.

“I made a save-the-date Facebook page and put the idea out there and my sister encouraged people to really get behind me,” she said.

“She’s already bought a lot of presents and she’s still shopping.”

Jess said giving back to the community was much better than receiving the signature 21st gifts that would gather dust in the back of the cupboard.

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