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State Honoree

Lauren Weigel

North Dakota

Lauren Weigel, 17, of Bismarck, N.D., a junior at St. Mary's Central High School, has raised $35,000 over the past eight years for an annual Minnesota motorcycle rally supporting pediatric brain tumor research, and last year helped organize a similar rally in North Dakota. Lauren was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 8, and then suffered a stroke during a biopsy procedure and became partially paralyzed. While undergoing treatment and therapy that eventually enabled her to regain most of her abilities, she learned about the Ride for Kids, a motorcycle rally held every summer in Minnesota to raise money for brain tumor research. "I told my mom that I wanted to raise some money to help find a cure," she said.

Since she doesn't ride a motorcycle, Lauren opted to support the event by knocking on doors in her area and singing jingles - she wrote a new one every year - asking for donations. When a local motorcycle club heard about Lauren's jingles, the members invited her to a meeting that resulted in a decision to hold their own motorcycle rally. Lauren participated in all of the planning for the "Dakota Kids Cancer Ride," and she and her mother took charge of the promotional activities. The ride, held last August, drew 87 bikers and raised $4,700. "I do this because I consider it a miracle to be here, and I need to do my part to make more miracles happen," said Lauren. "I've been given another chance, and I need to make it count."