Marissa Wenzler - Grade 9, Centerville High School
Have a Heart
I have always wanted to do something that would influence somebody's life in a positive way ever since I was young. It has always been my goal: to be able to help someone and bring joy to their life. I feel that I did this for a ten year old boy I'll call Joe.
The year was 2012 and my brother came home one day and told my family about this boy at School whose brother has a disease called Dock8. Dock8 is a rare immune deficiency. Only a few people in the world have the disease, so that is why our school's Spirit Chain was raising money to help fund the treatments. The High School Spirit Chain picks a charity to help every year, so they decided that they would have 2012 be the Joe Fund. When I heard about Joe, I immediately wanted to help. I thought about ways I could, and I remembered Indian Princesses. Indian Princesses is a father-daughter campout that is held every year at a place called Camp Kern. It was coming up, so I concluded that I would create a lemonade stand. I made posters, gave a speech at the bonfire gathering, and I ended up raising over 1,500 dollars! It was an incredible experience to be able to raise that amount of money from a lemonade stand.
Before all of this, I didn't know if I could pull any of it off. Now that I see I could all along, it made me very joyful. It also makes me happy that the High School holds a lemonade stand during their Spirit Chain pasta dinner annually in honor of what I did, and for Joe especially! Later in the year, Joe had his surgery, and was about to step into a tough road of recovery. Although Joe was a very strong, joyful boy, he didn't make it. He sadly passed away on January 6, 2013 at the age of only ten years old. It was a sad day in our town. I felt like my world crumbled because I never experienced a lost like that before. Joe would say, "Don't worry, I'm fine" but little did he know he was not. It is sad to think something so horrible could happen to a sweet, young boy like him. Although Joe has passed, he will always be here. After my grieving, I look back and I am so happy for what I did.
Joe was the greatest thing that has ever happened to me. He shaped me into the person I am today. I learned that I can make a difference, even if I am only one person. I also learned to follow my heart. It may sound cheesy, but it is true. My heart was telling me to help and I did. Joe may have passed, but he will always stay in the hearts of our town. And for that reason, we say, "Have a Heart Hartman."