NORWALK – Norwalk High School seniors Caleb and Jordan Volpei shared with their classmates the story of a family friend, Krista Dornburg, who lost her job and house while undergoing cancer treatments in 2009, but pushed through the difficult time with positive spirits.
Four years after the treatments, the cancer returned. Ignoring the advice of her doctors to stay home, Dornburg went to church on Sundays and attended the Breast Cancer Angels Christmas Ball.
“When she came back from the ball with my grandmother and aunt, there was a glow on her face as bright as the sun,” Caleb said. “Krista loved this ball because it placed her with others who were in the same predicament. In honor of Krista’s passing, Jordan and I realized that Breast Cancer Angels was a very special organization that we wanted to advocate for.”
Breast Cancer Angels, dedicated to providing financial and emotional assistance to cancer patients, was one of nine nonprofit organizations to receive a donation of $1,520.17 on Dec. 15 through Norwalk High’s fifth Charity for Charities fundraiser.
“Our students are some of the bravest people I’ve ever seen,” Norwalk High Principal Christina Stanley said. “I’m so proud of our students for sharing such intimate stories about themselves and the people in their lives, while at the same time, helping others who are overcoming the same challenges.”
Charity for Charities is a senior project that combines research and philanthropy as students choose to advocate for humanitarian organizations, often based on their personal connections to the causes. The Norwalk High Class of 2017 raised over $16,000 for the event by spending three weeks selling granola bars to family, friends and students.
“What makes this event so special is that it is entirely student driven,” Norwalk High civics teacher and Charity for Charities Advisor Dean Gray said. “Our students recognize the importance of supporting their communities and often learn that they are not alone in facing difficulties in life.”
The charities represented were: Alliance for Children’s Rights, Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles, Make-A-Wish of Greater Los Angeles, Susan G. Komen Foundation, UCLA Rape Treatment Center at Santa Monica, American Lung Association, Breast Cancer Angels, St. Jude Medical Center and Partnership for Drug Free Kids.
“The Charities for Charity event shows the amount of compassion and empathy our students have for each other and for their community,” Superintendent Dr. Hasmik Danielian said. “They recognize how they can help others facing the same challenges that they were able to overcome by supporting organizations that can create change.”
Caption: Brian Helleland, executive vice president and chief operation officer of St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, accepts a check for $1,520.17 from Norwalk High School students during the school’s Charity for Charities fundraiser on Dec. 15.