Girls sell bracelets to help research brain tumors
By Michelle Linn-Gust For The Sun October 15, 2012 6:42PM
Friends Nina Lazic, left, and Keely Yore made and sold bracelets to donate to brain tumor research after Nina's triplet brother battled brain cancer and Keeley's grandmother died from cancer. | Submitted
For information about how youth can volunteer, contact Kathy Schank, Kathy@kidsmatter2us.org, 630-567-6981 (KidsMatter community resource line)
To get a student volunteer application for Edward Hospital, contact Pam Briggs, 630-527-3222. (The application process ends Nov. 2.)
Updated: November 18, 2012 6:27AM
There is a misconception that kids don’t want to give back, that they are more concerned with their technological gadgets and material things to care about others.
But if that were true, then Edward Hospital wouldn’t have wait-listed 80 teens last year who wanted to volunteer because the program only can take 250. And KidsMatter wouldn’t have had 700 students and adults walk through the doors of its recent volunteer fair.
Kathy Schank, community outreach coordinator at KidsMatter, knows that many kids might have been dragged to the fair because of service hours some schools and classes require them to complete, but she also realizes that part of the struggle to get kids involved is many are overscheduled and exhausted.
“What may look like a lack of compassion is a look of tired kids,” said Schank who also believes that it’s hard for kids to figure out how to give back. “Service comes in many forms in the home, the neighborhood, and the school starting with small random acts of kindness. They need to look at service in different ways.”
Schank said kids mostly need help sorting out what they want to do and then guidance to make it happen. She suggests families first talk about what random acts of kindness mean to them and then bring the family’s calendar to the dinner table and use it to see where service can fit.
But once a family sees how to incorporate service into that already hectic schedule, both Schank and Pam Briggs, the supervisor of volunteer services at Edward, see kids enjoy giving back and want to do more.
“What impresses me is that this many want to volunteer,” Briggs said. “I look at their schedules, and they are so busy.”
Volunteer opportunities at Edward come in many forms from answering questions in the surgical waiting rooms to keeping the coffee pot filled and doing clerical work.
While KidsMatter has volunteer opportunities, they also encourage students to work with them to create new opportunities.
“We want kids to come to us with out-of-the-box ideas, and we’ll help them design them,” Schank said.
Two Kendall Elementary School girls are one example of coming up with their own way of giving back. Keeley Yore and her across-the-street friend Nina Lazic wanted to do something after watching Nina’s triplet brother Aleks beat brain cancer in second grade and Keeley’s grandmother die from cancer in 2008.
Keeley, who is 8, and Nina, who is 10, started making beaded bracelets as a craft project when Keeley’s older brother taught them how. After they decided to sell them, they agreed to donate the money to research brain tumors at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago.
“I’m so ecstatic they want to do this,” said Nada Lazic, Nina and Aleks’s mother. “Not just to help my son but to help other kids one day.”
“I felt bad for him,” said Nina of watching her brother’s battle for cancer that started in second grade. “It makes me feel happy not just to help him but help other people.”
Aleks’s brain cancer is rare and remains in remission, but he goes for check ups every three months. Nada knows there are no guarantees that it won’t come back.
Their reach started with their neighborhood and extended to soccer, football and their dads’ workplaces. They have collected more than $100, of which people often tell them to keep the change from the bracelets that cost a dollar each.
It makes me proud that they are doing this,” said Lisa, “that they found a way to deal with cancer by giving back and helping others.”
An added bonus is that the girls found out recently the Chicago Bears will match any donations made to the hospital by the end of October.
“My grandma would be proud that I’m doing this,” Keeley said.