Matt Angel of Airline High School in Bossier was considered one of the top baseball players in the state when he found out he had testicular cancer. Despite five operations, 40 chemotherapy treatments and 20 radiation treatments, he continued playing and ended up hitting .380 for the season and inspiring everyone around him.
Joshua Bell of Gonzales was born with Sickle Cell Anemia and is the current poster child and spokesperson for the Baton Rouge Sickle Cell Foundation. He also collects money for the Children’s Miracle Network and raises money to help purchase stuffed animals and treats for the children at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. Plus, he performs in a gospel group called The Voices of Victory with his sister.
Toni Chimento was born with Spina Bifida, which has left her a paraplegic with a wide range of other physical problems. Despite her physical problems, she is an excellent student, a member of the Salmen High Sunshine Generation, serves as team manager for the girl’s basketball team and has been an active participant in the Girl Scouts.
Krista Drew has survived the death of her father and some major family problems to excel at Monterey High. She is a 4.0 student, Freshman Class President, is in numerous clubs, writes for the school newspaper and helps with many school fundraisers.
Despite a progressive hearing loss that will eventually leave him completely deaf, Joshua LeJeune is in the gifted program at Iota Middle School, serves on the student council, plays in the school band, and is a tireless fundraiser for MDA, Toys for Tots and other causes. Having achieved the rank of Life, Joshua eventually hopes to be an Eagle Scout.
Despite a partial loss of his vision, Chris Rogers has a 4.4 grade point average at Caddo Magnet High. A National Merit Commended Scholar, he was chosen to represent Louisiana at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair and spent last summer doing research on a new experimental chemotherapy to reduce breast cancer tumors. He also volunteers with the American Red Cross, Shreveport Green, and local churches and has received a long and growing list of awards.
Born three months premature, Lysbeth Shirley has suffered a wide range of health problems from the moment she entered the world including paralysis and hearing impairment. Her perseverance and upbeat outlook on life inspires everyone around her. She volunteered her time as a student aide at the Beauregard Parish Library, and will serve as a counselor at the Catholic Deaf Action Center this summer.
Live Oak High School freshman Jonathan “Chaz” Wilburn suffers from Muscular Dystrophy but it hasn’t stopped him from being a tireless fundraiser and spokesperson for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in the Baton Rouge area.