(NewsNation) — Arizona teenager Kia Martin has given up a decade of birthday gifts to raise thousands of dollars for cancer research.
This year marks his 10th straight year asking for donations to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society instead of presents for his birthday.
Kia was recognized as a “GoFundMe Hero” for his fundraising efforts.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Kia said during an appearance on “Morning in America”. “I mean, we kind of are a pretty small, like, kind of fundraiser, but the fact that we got recognized by such a big company, it just meant so much to me.”
When Kia was 5 years old, his stepdad had a cancer scare.
“So I kind of asked my mom and found out what cancer was,” he said. “And I was just, I kind of want to do something about it. So I started raising money.”
And so Kia thought of the biggest number that he could and at the time, it was 100.
“I was turning 6,” he said. “And so my goal was $106.”
He ended up making the goal of $106 for his sixth birthday, but he raised around $500, and he said it made him feel so good he decided to do it again the next year and the year after that.
Now, Kia is turning 15 years old and celebrating $50,000 in total donations.
“I mean, it’s nuts to me, still, I really can’t believe it,” he said.
Kia is a freshman at Gilbert High School and has now surpassed his $25,000 goal in donations for this year, according to his GoFundMe page.
“Every year, I always try and beat my goal from last year,”he said. “And I think it’ll be pretty tough next year, especially after how well it’s done this year.”
Watch the full interview with Kia Martin in the video player at the top of the page.