Allison Wilbur poses for a photo with her friends and family.One West Michigan sixth-grader decided to forgo birthday gifts this year, and for good reason.

Instead of gifts, Allison Wilbur asked friends and family to donate to childhood cancer research at Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

Her reason was selfless and simple: It’s about helping kids who need help, she said.

This is the third year she has celebrated her birthday in this unique way.

The Thornapple Kellogg Middle School student has made her birthday a day of giving back. She only asks that others help in supporting local charities that make a difference.

In years past, her efforts focused on collecting supplies for troops in Afghanistan and supporting the Barry County animal shelter. This year she set her sights on childhood cancer research at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital.

She stopped by the Grand Rapids hospital earlier this week with a group of family and friends to drop off a check for $2,200. She shared some insight into why she decides to celebrate so differently from others her age.

Allison knows she is helping kids who might not have access to the treatments they need due to financial hardships and says she just likes to help people. She encourages others to not give up just because something is hard, and to understand that something like this isn’t all about you.

“I raised more than I had expected this year, and it was hard work,” Allison said, noting that her original goal was $750. “I stood outside this winter in downtown Hastings for several hours in the cold collecting money for the cause, but it was totally worth it.”

Allison is already considering which charity she’ll support next year, and has been asked to be involved as a youth engagement ambassador for the Hastings Relay for Life.

For more information on Allison’s birthday plans, checkout FOX-17’s Pay it Forward feature.