Amazing Kid: Kylie Kuhns

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Kylie Kuhns Picture

Kylie Kuhns is working to help make life a little brighter for children with cancer. Credit: Courtesy of Kylie Kuhns


Amazing Kid: Kylie Kuhns
Age: 13
Grade: 8th
Home Town: Mifflinburg, Penn.
School: Mifflinburg Area Middle School, Mifflinburg, Penn.
Favorite Ice Cream: Vanilla or strawberry

Why Kylie is Amazing: Kylie founded Kelsey's Dream, a nonprofit organization named for her sister, Kelsey, who died in 2005 of leukemia. Through the organization, Kylie raises funds for initiatives that help make life a little brighter for children with cancer, such as sponsoring the opening night carnival at Camp Dost, a pediatric cancer camp; providing snack packs for kids receiving chemotherapy at a local medical center; and buying Chemo Ducks for kids who need chemotherapy, which Kylie says is her group's biggest initiative right now.

A Chemo Duck is a plush toy outfitted like a child's body during chemotherapy, and, Kylie says, are for kids who are scared about what's going to happen to them. The doctor can do a chemotherapy procedure on the duck before he works with the child, to help comfort the patient and teach him or her about the treatment in an age-appropriate way.

Two years ago, Kylie had a goal of providing a Chemo Duck for every child in Pennsylvania diagnosed with cancer. Having met that goal quickly, she then proceeded to cover the entire East Coast. Currently, Kylie has completed 17 out of 18 states, and is now working to supply the last state, Florida.

When she started on her philanthropic journey in 2007, Kylie was just looking to raise funds for Camp Dost, which she had attended for several of years, to help make up for funding cuts. But what started a backyard project -- to make and sell apple butter with her grandparents to raise funds -- soon developed into a charitable organization that raises funds via both large and small events, including the annual Kelsey's Fall Festival and the aluminum pull-tabs recycling drive.

Kylie tells ParentDish the organization is called Kelsey's Dream because it was Kelsey's dream to help other kids. Even while she was sick, she always wanted to help somebody, Kylie says of her sister.

"This was something that our community always needed, to come together and do something," Kylie tells ParentDish. "I see a lot of kids at my school that want to help and do something good, but they don't know how. So this is a good thing. They can volunteer at the festival or do anything they want with our organization and it makes them feel better about themselves."

Recent Recognition: 2010 National Prudential Spirit of Community Award; 2010 Prestigious Distinction, U.S. Senate; 2010 Certificate of Congressional Recognition; Mifflinburg Area Middle School 2010 Kenneth Crook Memorial Award; 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007 President's Volunteer Service Award; Red Cross 2009 Union County Youth Good Samaritan Hero Award

Kylie's Advice to Kids: I know what keeps me ambitious about what I do is the good feeling afterward -- knowing the good I've done.

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