If Disney Dreamers & Doers are the best of the best among our local students, what do you call the cream of that crop? Meet Lake Howell’s Disney Shining Star, a student chosen from among the district’s Dreamers & Doers who exemplifies imagination at work.
Sometimes the strongest, most courageous warriors come in the most beautiful packages. Like Emma McDonald, a Lake Howell High School grad who is battling cancer for the third time since she was diagnosed at 15.
“While I was undergoing my [first] treatment, I became motivated to help other people with cancer,” Emma says. “When I returned to school the following year, I knew I wanted to start a club.”
Before long, Emma started a BASE Camp club at Lake Howell High. The student group was designed to support the BASE Camp Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides year-round support for children and families in Central Florida who are facing cancer and other hematological illnesses.
Emma and her classmates raised money for Arnie’s March, an annual walk benefiting the Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children. Soon after, Emma was diagnosed with cancer for the second time. After her recovery, she immediately returned to volunteering with the BASE Camp club again. The group began to support the foundation by cleaning its office monthly and hosting parties for the children.
“I knew many of the kids because of my time at Arnold Palmer,” Emma says. “They were really happy to see me outside of the hospital.”
In April of this year, Emma was diagnosed with cancer for the third time and is currently undergoing treatment again. She was accepted to King University in Tennessee but chose to delay her admission. Emma is currently taking online classes at Seminole State College. She plans on becoming an oncology/hematology nurse one day.
“I have a lot of pride in our club,” Emma says. “I know what life is like in the hospital. I know what it’s like to wonder what’s next, to want people to treat you the same as any other kid.”
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