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North Dakota woman does 60 good deeds for 60th birthday

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A North Dakota woman has put a novel twist on the concept of birthday presents – she gave away 60 gifts on the 60 days leading up to her 60th birthday, the Fargo Forum reports.

Ruth Moen Jelinek who lives in the tiny town of Pisek about 50 miles northwest of Grand Forks, delivered the last of the gifts on Tuesday, her birthday, the Forum reports. She gave a medical student a bag filled with 12 individually wrapped gifts that represent the 12 days of Christmas.

The project started on Oct. 6 when Jelinek donated crocheted dishcloths and dish towels for the Octoberfest Country Store of Holy Cross Catholic Church in West Fargo, the Forum reports. On Day 2, she gave a $50 gas card to a woman undergoing chemo treatments.

“Charity is something that my family has promoted all my life,” Jelinek told the Forum. “My grandfather taught it to me. He did it by hauling people to Grand Forks to the doctor. My parents did those things, too. I’m trying to pass this tradition on to my kids and grandkids.”

Jelinek said she was inspired by similar projects, and by the Fargo Forum columns of Nicole Phillips, who writes a "Kindness is Contagious" blog.

She told the newspaper she got more than she gave: “The rewards come back tenfold, even one hundredfold. It’s been a fun journey, a good way to lead up to your birthday.”

While Jelinek's birthday project is inspiring, it is not completely original. Others have taken a gift-giving approach to their own birthdays. An Iowa woman earlier this year celebrated her 34th with 34 random acts of kindness.

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