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State Honoree

Richard Hiatt

California

Richard Hiatt, 13, of McAuliffe Middle School in Los Alamitos, California, planned an Eagle Scout project to raise money for families experiencing cancer. Just two days after he chose his project, Richie's sister was diagnosed with leukemia. "I was so scared, I thought she was going to die," said Richie. With that added dose of inspiration, Richie mobilized his Boy Scout Troop, the Boy Scout Council and the local chapter of Parents Against Cancer to support a walk-a-thon at the area high school. Richie handled publicity for the event, encouraged local businesses and individuals to pledge money or collect donations and walk, and coordinated the logistics. Laci, Richie's 7-year-old sister, kicked off the walk and led 200 walkers to the music from the movie, Rocky. His initial goal of $1,000 was surpassed when he collected nearly $15,000, which Richie then donated to the Children's Cancer Center at the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center. The money he raised is being used to help pay for important medications, check-ups, and transportation to hospitals and clinics for patients who do not have cars. "If you really believe in yourself and your cause, others will too," said Richie.