Wyatt Settle with his family and staff at Gibbs Cancer Center

The coolest birthday gift

9-year-old shows that giving is better than getting.

Most boys who are about to turn 9 have some pretty cool birthday present ideas. Wyatt Settle’s idea was the coolest of all.

Wyatt decided to collect blankets and hats and donate them to the patients at Gibbs Cancer Center & Research Institute. 

“We were driving home and we asked him what he wanted for his birthday,” stepmom Sarah Beth said. “It was the last thing we were expecting him to say.”

The Jesse Boyd Elementary student’s generosity struck a chord. He received donations from as far away as Oregon.

“We put out the message, and people sent tons of stuff,” Wyatt’s dad, Louis, said.

Wyatt’s inspiration came from another classmate, who had put together a charity event. But cancer has struck close to home, and the loss also moved Wyatt to act. 

“I've lost two very dear friends to cancer this year. Empathy is important,” his mom, Stacy Mann, said.

Gibbs staff members turned out to accept the donation and thank Wyatt for his selflessness.

“It’s so moving to see young people help cancer patients in a time of need,” Staci Roberts, BHA, clinical integration and community outreach program manager, said. “We are so thankful to Wyatt, and to everyone who donates their time and energy to make lives better.”

Another young person dedicates her birthdays to helping cancer patients. For three years now, Ginger has raised money for Spartanburg Regional Foundation’s Cancer Special Needs Fund. Learn about Ginger’s efforts.

And you don’t have to be under 18 to help. The sisters of the Xi Sigma chapter of Sigma Gamma Rho sorority have donated hats, blankets and other materials for several years.

Some people donate their time and abilities. Recently, two women from the art group at Hope Church in Spartanburg came to paint pictures in the lobby.

“I come to encourage those who are coming in and going through a tough time,” Sandy Loutner said. As a cancer survivor herself, “I can relate to the little things that make life better.”

Would you like to donate items that could help cancer patients? Past donations have included caps, blankets and scarves, as well as care packages with crossword puzzles and Sudoku, hand sanitizers, lotions, lip balm and more.

If you’d like to know more, contact Perry Patterson at 560-6747 or email