Louisville native has special request to celebrate 95 years of life

COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – It’s tough to think of a gift you want at 95 years old.

Unless you’re Jean Woodruff.

All she wanted is an opportunity to help and heal.

Over nine decades of life and Woodruff’s goal is to help the most vulnerable: sick children.

A conversation started with a friend, which led to a Facebook post, and now has nearly $1,000 has resulted in the best gift of all.

Every March, Woodruff was asked what she wanted for her birthday. This year, at 95 years, she came up with a plan to help others.

“Well, I was talking to a friend and she wanted to give me a gift and I would not receive a gift so I said give me a dollar for St. Jude and that’s how it began,” said Woodruff.

Woodruff made sure her wish was known to others.

Melba Reed, Chief of Operations for Bee Hive homes of Mississippi, said she remembered the day the Louisville native told her about the birthday request and she decided she would help her out.

“I decided that night that we would post it to our facility’s Facebook page and it went viral,” said Reed.

The post received around 170 shares and hundreds of likes. In just 10 days, hundreds of people from 10 different states sent her dollar bills.

$1 bills, $5 bills, $10 bills, and $20 bills soon flooded the mailbox and Woodruff was happy to add every cent to the donation jar.

Woodruff said whoever came through the door had to give her a dollar.

Some were strangers who were moved by her giving, while others had personal ties to Woodruff.

“She began her teaching career in Louisville in 1950 and taught for many years she received many cards from fellow students and the majority of them have written which class they graduated from and it’s just been so delightful from here for us to read those memories and share them with her,” said Reed.

After reading hundreds of cards Woodruff is thankful and can’t wait to show St. Jude the money that was donated.

“I’m so blessed. God has been so good to me and he blessed me. What a great cause it is. Thank you for the contribution,” said Woodruff.

As of right now, the amount has reached $1,000.

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