Elizabeth Quesenberry, 17, of Wilmington, Del., a senior at Padua Academy High School, overcame a diagnosis of brain cancer to start a nonprofit organization that has raised $100,000 over the past six years to increase awareness of childhood cancer, help fund the search for a cure, and ease the financial pressure on families of young cancer patients. Elizabeth was cancer-free after a yearlong battle with brain cancer, but the experience forever changed her life. "During my battle I met other kids suffering worse than me and I watched my friends pass away from cancer," Elizabeth said. "I felt I had to do something about this epidemic."
Her organization, the Pearce Q. Foundation, conducts several fundraisers throughout the year. To prepare for the largest, the "4 Miles of Hope Walk/Run," Elizabeth shares her story with companies to gain corporate sponsors; advertises through flyers, social media, radio and newspapers; and recruits volunteers to staff the event. At Christmas, her group "adopts" several local families with sick children and provides them with gifts and assistance with groceries and gas. Elizabeth's foundation also stages a comedy show, sells gold ribbon socks, and organizes "hats on for cancer days" at schools, where students pay for the privilege of donning hats during the school day. She estimates that her organization has benefited more than 1,000 families so far. "I want to do whatever I can to help people who are in the same place that I was," said Elizabeth.