At only 8 years old, Enyla Blackmon has done things most children only dream of.
She has recorded a hip-hop song, placed highly in gymnastics competitions and performed alongside her mother in a dance recital.
But the most incredible thing this little girl has done in her short eight years of life is donate $5,000 to the American Cancer Society in early November. Not many children can say they've done that.
Her great-grandfather, Fred Sanders, recently died of cancer, and Blackmon learned from her grandmother Barbara Blackmon, of Blackmon & Blackmon law firm in Canton, that her grandfather, Edward Blackmon Jr.'s father, Edward Blackmon Sr., and Barbara's father, Julius Martin Sr., had also died of cancer. Blackmon decided to start collecting change for a cancer society donation.
"It showed a lot of compassion and initiative for someone at that age to be one to focus on something as serious as cancer," Barbara Blackmon says.
Enyla began collecting donations at the end of September. "Everywhere she went, she was collecting money for cancer so she was cleaning out everyone's change," her grandmother says with a laugh. "She cleared out her piggy bank."
Her pastor Jeffrey Stallworth at Word and Worship Church in Jackson announced her project to the congregation, and said that they had to match whatever Enyla raised, totaling out to $5,000. Barbara Blackmon remembers Stallworth telling the congregation, "A baby should not be leading the way for what this church should already be doing." On Nov. 3, Blackmon presented the money to Tracie Wade, director of the American Cancer Society. "Tracie was floored that a child had thought about saving money for cancer," Barbara Blackmon says.
The young philanthropist is in third grade at St. Andrew's Episcopal School, and she loves school. She is also a gymnast with Madison County Gymnastics. In her first competition, Blackmon placed first in all categories and had the highest score. In her second one, she placed second and third in all categories.
The precocious Blackmon also loves music. When Enyla was 6, she recorded a hip-hop song titled "P.o.l.o. I Stay Fresh."
Enyla doesn't see herself being a dancer or singer or hip-hop artist, though. Her new dream is to be a lawyer. She has already walked into her grandmother's law firm asking for her own office.
Enyla is the daughter of Madison Edward Blackmon, a local hip-hop artist who goes by the stage name Korleon, and Enola Kelly, a teacher at John Hopkins Elementary School and a dance instructor for the Golden Dazzlers.