What does it mean to “give away your birthday”?  We found out when one generous little boy from Indiana did it when he turned nine.

You see, usually birthdays (especially for kids) are all about the presents.  Sure, it’s a celebration, and there’s nothing wrong with that.  But often the day becomes more about what we get out of it.  So, some wise folks out there had the thought to turn that idea on it’s head.  What if instead of getting on your birth, you used it as a day to give?  People who decide to “give away their birthday” use it as an opportunity to tell others about a ministry or cause that they really believe in.  Then, they invite their friends and family to donate, instead of buying them presents!  How great is that?

Joseph was one of these huge-hearted people.  At the tender age of 8-going-on-9, he decided to give away his birthday for Soddo Christian Hospital.  Here is the letter he wrote to all his friends and family.  They shared it by email, blog, and Facebook:

For my birthday, I decided I am going to give my birthday away. Instead of gifts, I want to raise money. I have chosen Soddo Christian Hospital in Soddo, Ethiopia. Soddo is where I was born and lived before I came to America. I am so lucky-this summer I get to go with my dad, Granddad and brother to visit Soddo. 

This hospital is not just an ordinary hospital-everyone who come in learns about Jesus. This is something that is important to me. 

Also, Ethiopia is one of the poorest countries in the world. This hospital helps people in one of the poorest parts of the country. Without this hospital, they might not get any help.

I am raising money for them to buy a CPAP machine. A CPAP machine helps babies be able to breath correctly. When my twin brothers were born early, this machine saved their lives. I am excited to help save babies lives.

Thanks to the generosity of Joseph and his friends and family, $9,700 was raised.  That’s right.  You heard that correctly.  $9,700!  The hospital was able to buy not one, not two, but THREE CPAP machines.  And several babies lives have been saved as a result.  (The mortality of pre-term babies is very high in Ethiopia, but due to these machines, our survival rate is improving dramatically).  This small act of selflessness on the part of this child yielded dividends that are saving lives!

So, what do you say?  Are you ready to give away your next birthday?

Joseph with his family.  Soddo Christian Hospital thanks you!!
Joseph with his family. Soddo Christian Hospital thanks you!!