Happy Birthday, Kaley: Community rallies for brave 6-year-old

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Jessica Wilkerson and her daughter Kaley Wilkerson, 6, celebrate the designation of "Kaley Wilkerson Day" at Mamie Martin Elementary School Friday.

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Jessica Wilkerson and her daughter Kaley Wilkerson, 6, celebrate the designation of “Kaley Wilkerson Day” at Mamie Martin Elementary School Friday.

Give the Brookhaven community a reason to come together and enrich the lives of a courageous little girl and her family, and chances are local residents will find a way to do so.

That’s exactly what happened at Mamie Martin Elementary School Friday in honor of Kaley Wilkerson. Six-year-old Kaley Wilkerson is a Mamie Martin student who is courageously battling cancer.

Friday was a very special day for young Kaley. First, the mayor and board of aldermen dedicated Jan. 24 as “Kaley Wilkerson Day.”

Then, the entire elementary school sang spirited renditions of “Happy Birthday” to Kaley, who was celebrating her sixth birthday.

As her mother and father looked on, Kaley sat in the “queen’s seat” in the elementary school foyer, surrounded by Brookhaven High School cheerleaders and mascots. Kaley was also given a pink Brookhaven football jersey.

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Kaley Wilkerson sits in the middle of a crowd of supporters, including cheerleaders from Brookhaven High School at a party in her honor Friday.

DAILY LEADER / JUSTIN VICORY / Kaley Wilkerson sits in the middle of a crowd of supporters, including cheerleaders from Brookhaven High School, at a party in her honor Friday.

Besides the celebration, which saw expressions of cheer that elementary school students are known for, the faculty and staff joined in with their own enthusiasm, including what could well be known as a “Kaley Wilkerson” dance, performed by Assistant Principal Rita Robinson.

After singing to Kaley, the BHS cheerleaders passed out 1,000 cupcakes and cups of lemonade to the school children, donated by Walmart and Piggly Wiggly for the event.

Although seemingly tired from the parade of celebration, little Kaley repeatedly smiled into the camera … a natural.

“It’s unbelievable,” said Jessica Wilkinson, Kaley’s mother. “I’m overwhelmed by all the attention.”

In further honor of Kaley and her fight, the carpentry and construction class at Brookhaven Technical Center has been asked to construct a playhouse by the end of next week for the courageous 6-year-old.

Besides Kaley, Jessica and husband Josh, have a 19-month baby girl at home, Jolie Wilkerson.

Later on Friday, Mayor Joe Cox reflected on the significance of the Brookhaven community’s response to Kaley. “It’s simply amazing. Now, these are the things, the stories that are most meaningful to me. It was an honor to be part of Kaley’s birthday celebration.”

Donations for Kaley Wilkerson can be made at Home Hardware Center on the account “Kisses for Kaley!” For more information, contact Kay Burton, program director for the Brookhaven-Lincoln County Chamber of Commerce, at 601-833-1411.