A Monroe County teenager on the verge of turning 16, is using her special day as a way to give back.
(WBIR-Lenoir City) A Monroe County teenager on the verge of turning 16-years-old is using her special day as a way to give back.
Friends and family gathered at Canvas Church in Lenoir City to celebrate Noelle Lawrence's Sweet 16.
Lawrence used to live in Lenoir City but now resides in Madisonville.
She asked guests to not give her presents, but instead bring gifts for the kids at East Tennessee Children's Hospital (ETCH) in Knoxville.
"It's good for them to have toys and cards and stuff and know people care about them outside of their family," Lawrence said.
Lawrence hopes to one day work at ETCH as a pediatric nurse.
"When Noelle was small, when her sister was born, she gave a lot of love. She's always a giver, a carer, a nurturer. So the kid couldn't make me any more proud than that," said Denver Johnson, Lawrence's father.
Last year, Lawrence held a small birthday party and asked friends to bring gifts for ETCH; this year she invited her entire congregation.
"Not many 16-year-olds these days think of others. Most of them just think of themselves. She's just got such a huge heart," said Nancy Dunsmore, Lawrence's mother.
Some of the monetary donations will benefit Jaygen Grahm, 22-months-old, who is a frequent patient at ETCH and has a number of issues.
"He's been through test after test. We've seen multiple doctors at Children's... So we see the second floor nurses quite often," Jenny Corbett said, Jaygen's mother.
You can follow Jaygen's Journey through the family's Facebook page.
Lawrence turns 16-years-old on Dec. 18.
She plans on giving the toys and monetary donations to ETCH some time before Christmas.