When I decided to write this year's columns on people who inspire me, this young lady was the first person on my list. She has a heart of gold, and kindness and compassion that will certainly change the world.
Shortly after Grace was diagnosed with INAD, Kamryn came up to the newspaper office one paper night with her grandpa (Ron Deabenderfer), when he still made obituary and fire calls for us.
She shyly walked back to my desk with an envelope full of money, that she had collected at one of her brother's sporting events. Kamryn made a bunch of the rubber band bracelets and accepted donations for INAD research. Although Kamryn is now 13-years-old and a seventh grader, she was just in fifth grade when she and two friends (Maddi and Layne Ruppert) started this endeavor.
That first night, she brought in over $100 for research at Washington University in St. Louis, MO, as well as special ones just for Grace.
Kamryn had tables of her gracelets in front of her house at Old Settlers and at the first Grace Race, and even made her own business cards. She ended up raising more than $1,000 for INAD research through her project.
And we were so blown away. Not just by the amount she raised, but by the spirit in which she gave it.
It would have been easy for a ten-year-old to sell bracelets and keep that money for the latest toys or technology gadgets. Her $1,000 would have gone a long way to something she could have used for herself.
But Kamryn saw a bigger picture, and felt like there was something she could do that would help Grace. And she did it in a big way.
Her thoughtfulness remains such an inspiration to me, because it comes from a sheer love of others. If the world we live in had a few more Kamryn Kipers, we'd be unstoppable.