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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Katie Rogers

Katie Rogers

Mississippi

Katie Rogers, 18, of Collins, Miss., a senior at Simpson County Academy, volunteers in the children's activity room at a local hospital and serves as an intern for the American Cancer Society, both of which reflect her deep concern for sick children. When a good friend was diagnosed with acute leukemia in the third grade, "I instantly felt this urge to take care of him, which I did when I was allowed," said Katie. Soon after, she decided she wanted to spend her life helping children with cancer and eventually become a pediatric oncology nurse. "But I wanted to get involved with the kids before then," she said. So when her mother suggested she volunteer at Blair E. Batson Hospital in Jackson, Katie began filling out the required paperwork.

Once she was accepted as a hospital volunteer, Katie was assigned to the children's "activity room," the place where young patients go to play and hang out with each other. "My job there is to help the kids have fun and forget where they are for a second and just be kids," said Katie. "The most difficult part is knowing some of the kids I have become so close with will not make it, but putting a smile on the kids' faces is the most rewarding part of my day." This prompted her to volunteer for the American Cancer Society, delivering toys to hospitals, designing T-shirts, supporting fundraising races, and providing other assistance. In addition to her work at home, Katie has traveled to Peru to teach English to children in rural villages. "My goal in all my actions is to see kids smile when they are at their lowest," said Katie.