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Though they’re celebrating with a masquerade ball, the purpose behind the “Sweet 16” party of a set of Lusby twins is anything but hidden.

Rebecca Banker said she had known for years she wanted her 16th birthday party to have a charitable aspect. Convincing her twin sister, Kim, was not difficult either.

On Saturday, Jan. 12, the sisters, who are freshmen at Patuxent High School, are having a birthday party in which they are accepting donations for the children’s ward at MedStar St. Mary’s Hospital and for the Tri-County Animal Shelter rather than gifts.

Rebecca said she visited the animal shelter in Hughesville about six years ago looking to buy a dog.

“The first time we went to the shelter it was rundown, and they didn’t have enough toys for the dogs to play with,” Rebecca said.

Kim said they got the idea to collect donations for the hospital in St. Mary’s County when their brother was having surgery to repair a broken bone.

“We were so bored, and there was nothing to do,” said Kim, who said they immediately thought of kids who had to be at the hospital for longer durations.

“We want there to be something for the kids to do,” Kim said.

At their birthday party, the twins are taking donations for items like dog food, dog toys, cat litter, board games, stuffed animals and gift cards to pet stores.

“Anything not used that either kids can play with or dogs can play with,” Rebecca said.

The girls said this was the first time they’d put a charitable spin on their birthday celebration.

“Sweet 16 is supposed to be special, and you’re supposed to have fun, and I’ve been waiting forever for this party,” Rebecca said.

The girls said they were expecting approximately 150 guests at their party. They said they got the idea for a masquerade party by looking up popular Sweet 16 ideas online.

“I think it’s wonderful,” said their mom, Jada Stuckert, of her daughters’ birthday party decision. “I asked them about 15 times if that’s what they really want to do because they’re 16 year old girls. ... I was a little surprised, but not overly shocked, because they’re good kids.”

Volunteer work is also not a new thing for the twins, who said they recently participated in a Toys for Tots collection with their school’s NJROTC, of which they are members.

Rebecca said she felt proud of what they’re accomplishing through their birthday party.

“You’re helping the dogs and the animals when they can’t help themselves,” she said, adding that the hospital donations gave her a sense of accomplishment, “just imagining a kid playing with a toy and having fun. It makes me proud, because I love toys.”



ldukes@somdnews.com