Starting in 2008, two of my friends and I planned and put on a charity carnival to raise money for our dear friend and neighbor, Breanna Strange, who suffers from Dystonia. Dystonia is a rare neuro-muscular disorder that makes almost all voluntary muscle movements impossible. When she was seven years old (2007), we found out that she would be having a huge hip surgery resulting in her being in a full body cast for an extended period of time. As young children, eight, eleven, and thirteen, we couldn’t imagine what it would be like for our friend to go through that; so we knew we needed to help.
After tossing a few ideas back and forth, a neighborhood carnival seemed to be a good fit. We planned for months and months, preparing for the big day in June. Unsure of what would come of this; we went in with positive attitudes and lots of hope. After making it through the exhausting day, we deemed it a success due to the fact that we had raised over $1,000 that would go directly to her family. This event exceeded any expectations we had and absolutely shocked us.
At such a young age, we couldn’t even wrap out heads around what we had actually done. Since we were so proud of our success, we decided to make this an annual thing. Through rain and shine, we hosted a carnival every summer for the next six years to help her family in any way possible. All together, we raised over $7,500 for various things such as ramps on her house, spending money for a trip to New York for brain surgery, and help for an addition on the ground level of her house.
Although we will not be hosting a carnival this year, I spend every Thursday and Friday after school helping out Bre’s family by getting her off the bus, helping with homework, and just hanging out with her. Because she is the happiest girl I know, spending time with her can hardly be considered a job. I know that I am a better person because I have Bre in my life and I am constantly reminded of how blessed I am to be able to do everything I can do.