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State Honoree

Kathleen O'Dell


Kathleen O'Dell, 12, of Blue Island, Ill., a seventh-grader at Veterans Memorial Middle School, used her own savings and money collected from friends and family members to donate $100 to Children's Memorial Hospital. Kathleen heard about the hospital's need for funds while listening to a "radiothon" in the car with her mother last summer. "Listening to the stories, my mom started to cry, and I was already crying on the inside," said Kathleen.

She immediately bought a piggy bank and put all of her babysitting money in it to start the fund. Then she contacted all her family and friends and asked them to contribute. Once she had collected $100, Kathleen's mother drove her to the hospital to make the donation in person. Kathleen's contribution helped the radiothon raise $1.85 million, which will be used for pediatric research, patient care, education and advocacy efforts. Kathleen is planning to raise money for the hospital again this year, and will be an official volunteer for the radiothon. "I love helping out," she said. "I believe that in a way I am balancing out the world a little bit."