Eleven-year-old Hayley Arceneaux of St. Francisville is a bone cancer survivor who has become a tireless advocate for St. Jude Childrenís Hospital. She will be featured on the upcoming St. Jude Telethon and has been involved with local St. Jude projects.
Vlora Canolli of Terrytown has already seen a lifetime of adversity in her 17 years. A refugee from Kosovo, she has lost both parents and helps to take care of her two younger brothers and her grandfather while attending school full-time and working a part-time job.
Jessie James Dixon of Shreveport has had to overcome a very unstable home life that included the death of his father and his motherís mental illness that forced his removal from his home. He helped Evangel Christian win its eighth state football championship and excels in the classroom.
Cody Futrell of West Monroe was born with Spina Bifida and has had to endure 15 major surgeries and eight stress fractures. Despite this, he is a championship violin player, an excellent student, an inspirational speaker and an outstanding wheelchair athlete.
Ten-year-old Samantha Hill of DeRidder suffers from Osteogenesis Imperfecta, more commonly known as Brittle Bone Disease. This disease has caused her multiple bone fractures and surgeries. Despite her physical problems, Samantha is an outstanding student, a fundraiser for Special Olympics and her cheerful personality and determination are an inspiration to her schoolmates.
Deridder High School senior Jonathan James Perkins was diagnosed with a brain tumor when he was two years old. He has endured 24 surgeries during his 18 years that have left him slightly mentally challenged, but he participates in Special Olympic events, rodeos, visits nursing homes to give gifts to residents and collects eyeglasses for the elderly.
Dorsey Schroeck of Baton Rouge was born with Cerebral Palsy, which has severely affected her motor skills. She is an honor roll student, an active member of the Girls Scouts, helps organize fundraisers for her church and works to help increase accessibility for the physically handicapped.
Amanda Pittmon was born with a number of physical problems including a cleft palate, poor muscle control and facial defects. She has had over 50 surgeries during the last 13 years and suffers from Grand Mal seizures. Despite her physical handicaps, she plays sports, is a member of the Cope Middle School Pep Squad and has won numerous awards with the 4-H Club for her cooking, woodworking and arts and crafts. She has worked with the Collection Center for Operation Christmas Child and made chains and necklaces for Make a Difference Day.