Child chooses to give, not receive on birthday

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DECATUR, Ill. (WAND)-- One 10-year-old boy decided to celebrate his birthday by giving to others.

Wyatt Hildebrandt told his classmates to bring gifts- just not for him.

"Instead of kids bringing birthday presents for me, kids from my school brought presents for cancer patients down at St. Mary's hospital," he said.  

The 10-year-old is glad his birthday can be used to help others.

"It makes me feel real good inside to see that you have children out there who think like that. I was very grateful towards him," one patient said. "He's going to be all right I think. He'll be alright in this world."

Wyatt says it is great to be able to give back to people who are going through a hard time right now. One employee at St. Mary's Hospital says his generosity is unique for his age.

"I was shocked," they said. "I was surprised and then especially when she told me his age... as a 10 year old wanting to do that. That' a young age, and that's an age where really life is all about them not others. For him to already know that and to brace that at a young age. I already told him he is going to keep that in his heart forever and he's going to go somewhere with that."

Monica Hildebrandt, Wyatt's mother, is proud of him. She gave WAND News her tip for raising such a selfless son.

 "I think a lot of how you raise children is how you lead by example," she said.

Wyatt's passion for helping is building a path for many of his future career options.

"I'm either thinking of going to be a nurse like my mom, or going to help out in the army," he said.

Wyatt says being a good person is simple.

"Just try to help others whenever you can," he added. "Just try to always be nice and help others."

That is why Wyatt Hildebrandt is this week's Spirit of Central Illinois recipient. Anyone with a Spirit of Central Illinois story to contribute can email

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