By Ron Matz

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — She’s just 11 years old, but when one of her best friends died of cancer she decided to honor his memory by helping others. And on Sunday, Emily Nelson will make a trip to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center.

Ron Matz has more on a little girl with a big heart.

Emily Nelson is extraordinary and so is her story. It all started when her good friend Gavin Jacobs died of cancer when he was just 8 years old.

“It’s kind of like a way to celebrate his birthday,” Emily said. “I collected toys and we take them to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center on Sunday, Gavin’s birthday. It makes me feel good to make the kids happy.”

Emily set up Gifts for Gavin. She collects money and toys in Gavin’s memory and donates them.

“I’ve been doing pretty good,” she said. “A couple people from our school have been bringing in toys, and we’ve been going around to local businesses and they’ve been donating, and we went up to the Giant and a couple of people donated, so it’s been pretty good.”

Hampden’s Ravens Roost 110 gave Emily $200. Other businesses on The Avenue stepped up, too.

“It’s hard for an adult to solicit someone, but when a child is doing it, it can be a little overwhelming. So when people support her and believe in what she’s doing, it’s really heartwarming,” said Lacey Nelson, Emily’s mom. “She’s got an amazing little heart. There are no words.”

Emily says she’ll never forget Gavin. His gift of friendship and his memory will live on with this special little girl.

“It makes me kind of sad because I really miss him because he was a good kid,” she said.

Lacey Nelson says her co-workers at Zurich Insurance also donated to her daughter’s fund.

“There were a couple of businesses that I just have to say what they did: Cafe Hon, Sandy’s, Zissimos. Without question, Emily goes in and they’re just ready to support her. They’re just giving her bags of stuff. I just love that,” she said.

“Thank you to everyone who made a donation, the people at the Giant and the Ravens Roost or if you donated a toy,” Emily said.

Emily plans to continue her fundraising throughout the year.

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