From the Archives: Fall 2003 Issue of Lupus Now
SEVENTH GRADER CATCHES THE FUNDRAISING BUG
Three years ago, when Kristal DeRuise learned that her best friend’s mom had lupus, a disease without a cure, she knew she had to help. She came up with the idea of collecting round rocks, painting them to look like ladybugs, adding a little pom-pom and wire antennae for the head, and then selling them for $2 each—all to raise money for lupus research. (Think Pet Rocks hand-painted to look like the polka-dotted bugs.)
Kristal obtained permission to sell the ladybugs at a friend’s store and at her mom’s workplace. An article in the local newspaper helped spread the word—and the first 500 rocks sold out within three months.
“We set a goal of $1,000 in a year,” says Kristal, now a seventh-grader at Pine Middle School in Reno, Nev., who enlisted the help of her little brother Trevor, and her best friend, Diana, in the Ladybugs for Lupus project. “The hardest part was finding all the rocks!”
Kristal’s group has now raised more than $25,000 for the Lupus Foundation of America through sales of the ladybugs. In fact, her efforts have been so successful, she recently was named by Prudential Financial as one of America’s Top Ten Youth Volunteers for 2003.
During an all-expense-paid trip with her parents to Washington, D.C. for the recognition events, Kristal was presented with a $1,000 award and an engraved silver medallion, and was congratulated by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani and David Gallagher, star of the hit TV series “7th Heaven.”
Along with an engraved gold medallion and a crystal trophy for her school, Kristal was given $5,000 for her charity, and had $25,000 in toys, clothing and other children’s gifts donated in her name to needy kids in Reno—courtesy of Kids in Distressed Situations, Inc., the national charity of the children’s apparel and products industry.
Truly an inspiration, Kristal has been contacted by young people in other states who want to join the Lucky Ladybugs for Lupus team.
“I learned that even the smallest idea can become huge,” says the remarkable young woman. “We haven’t gotten a cure yet, but we are still trying.”
For more about The Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, visit www.prudential.com/spirit.