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State Honoree

Gabrielle Thompson

Minnesota

Gabrielle Thompson, 13, of Buffalo, Minn., a seventh-grader at Buffalo Community Middle School, raised $5,000 for cancer research by selling luminaries at her school, and has written a book about coping with childhood cancer. "How did I become involved?" asked Gabrielle. "Cancer involved me." When she was 4 years old, doctors operated to remove a malignant tumor from her abdomen. After she recovered, she said, "I wanted to do all that I could to help raise awareness of cancer."

So she devised a plan to sell luminaries at her school to honor cancer patients, to raise money for research, and to draw attention to Buffalo's Relay for Life fund-raising event. She also began writing the "ABCs of Childhood Cancer," which takes readers through the alphabet to explain the various experiences a cancer patient can expect, such as "crying" for the letter C. "The most memorable part of this has been seeing the smiles and glimmer in the eyes of cancer patients when they tell me I have given them hope to keep going, or the look on parents' faces when they say they have more hope that their child will make it."