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State Honoree

Kristal DeRuisé

Nevada

Kristal DeRuisé, 10, of Sparks, Nev., a seventh-grader at Mendive Middle School, raised more than $25,000 for the National Lupus Foundation of America by designing, painting and selling decorative “ladybug” rocks. When Kristal learned that her best friend’s mother suffered from lupus, a disease for which no cure has been discovered, Kristal knew she had to help. She decided to collect round rocks and paint them to look like ladybugs, and then sell them to help fund research efforts to cure lupus. “We set a goal of $1,000 in a year,” said Kristal, who enlisted the help of friends and family in her project. She obtained permission to sell her work at a friend’s store and her mother’s work place. An article in the local newspaper helped spread the word, and Kristal’s first 500 rocks sold out within three months. “The hardest part was finding all the rocks,” she said. Sales of Kristal’s ladybug rocks now total over $25,000, with all profits going to the National Lupus Foundation of America. “We haven’t gotten a cure yet, but we are still trying,” said Kristal.