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State Honoree

Photo of State Honoree Abbigail Boner

Abbigail Boner

South Dakota

Abbigail Boner, 18, of Castlewood, S.D., a senior at Castlewood High School, helps the Children's Miracle Network (CMN) raise money for children's hospitals and medical care by speaking about the support her family received from the charity when her little brother was treated for a malignant brain tumor. "It was a very hard time for my family," Abbigail said. During one of their many trips to the hospital, a representative of CMN approached them and offered help. "They helped us pay for gas, for meal tickets at the hospital, and they acted as a support system for my whole family," she said. "Because of their kindness and generosity, I wanted to give back."

So 10 years ago, Abbigail began appearing at CMN fundraisers, sharing her story of what it's like to have a brother with cancer and how CMN helped her family get through a very traumatic time. At first, she spoke at events such as "phonathons" and "radiothons," and gave interviews to the media. Then she began going with her family to "Dance Marathons" that college students in South Dakota organize at their schools to raise funds for CMN. At these events, Abbigail encourages the students to work hard by "telling them of the amazing things CMN does, not only for our family, but for all of the families helped by their cause," she said. She also offers support to families fighting the same battles that her family once faced. When Abbigail goes to college next year, her goal is to become the top fundraising student for CMN, she said.