High school graduation is several months away for Garrison Forest senior Sarah Hill, but she’s already an award-winning, seasoned philanthropist. On November 16, 2012, Sarah was honored with the 2012 Outstanding Youth Fundraiser Award on National Philanthropy Day in Maryland.
One of five youth award winners at the annual event hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals Maryland Chapter, Sarah was honored for her national healthcare advocacy work as the founder of the Kids Uveitis Research and Education (K.U.R.E.) Foundation. At age ten, she created K.U.R.E. with her doctor at Johns Hopkins Hospital’s Wilmer Eye Institute to provide research for Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Uveitis (JIA Uveitis), which Sarah was diagnosed with at 18 months.
During her acceptance speech at the AFP luncheon, held at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel and attended by more than 800 guests including Sarah’s family, her doctors and Head of School Peter O’Neill, Sarah shared the genesis of K.U.R.E. Sarah recalled, at age ten, asking her doctor about her prognosis:
“I wanted to know where the other kids like me were, and what their lives were like. I wondered how much medicine they took and how we would all grow up; would we be able to see or not? Dr. Jabs told me that he did not have the answers to my questions but he said I could do something to help my peers and myself. Education and research, he told me, were the answers. Dr. Jabs challenged me; if I raised money he would support me by collecting data, performing research and educating other doctors. Kids Uveitis Research and Education (K.U.R.E) was founded at the Wilmer Eye Institute in the fall of 2005.”
Sarah began fundraising by culling her family’s Christmas card list to write letters asking for donations. She explained that she wanted to find the other kids with JIA Uveitis to ensure that they would all see when they grew up. “In my letter,” she explained to the crowd, “I told people that I was looking for a key to a locked box that was just beyond my reach.”
Today, Sarah’s reach has stretched in ways she could not have imagined at age ten. K.U.R.E. has raised more than $140,000 to date, funding several medical conferences in New York and Los Angeles to provide educational outreach to patients, their families and to the medical community. Sarah, who hopes to combine her love of Latin with her passion for public health by majoring in the Classics and Public Health next fall when she begins college, has served as a patient advocate at the conferences.
Last spring, she and her GFS friends—Sarah has been a Garrison Girl since Preschool—organized a popular dodge ball tournament at GFS for K.U.R.E. and raised more than $1,000. As part of her AFP Outstanding Youth Fundraiser Award, AFP donated $250 to K.U.R.E. She was nominated for the award by her doctor, Dr. Jennifer Thorne, and the Wilmer Development Team at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
This year, Sarah is continuing her connection with Johns Hopkins as one of the first two Classics students in a research mentorship inspired by the GFS/Hopkins Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) partnership. Sarah and Kaley Gonzalez ’13 are visiting students assisting with research and curatorial tasks at the Hopkins’ Archaeological Museum. Guided by Elisabeth Schwinge, JHU graduate student and their mentor, they are focusing on epigraphy, the study of inscriptions, such as those on funerary tablets, from antiquity. Read more about epigraphy in this article by Ms. Schwinge.
Each week, Sarah and Kaley travel to the recently renovated Archaeological Museum on JHU's Homewood campus. There, along with additional mentor Sanchita Balachandran, curator of the museum, they delved into the world of antiquities.
Congratulations, Sarah, on your award and all you are accomplishing!
Enjoy these links to learn more about Sarah’s philanthropic service.
View Sarah's acceptance speech.
Watch the video of Sarah and K.U.R.E., which was shown at the AFP luncheon.
Learn more about JIA Uveitis and K.U.R.E. at www.kure4eyes.org.
Check out Sarah’s AmeriCorps Education Award, which she received in August 2012 for 300 volunteer service at Baltimore’s Charm City Clinic for underserved city residents with healthcare access, weekly health screenings and home visits.
In summer 2011, Sarah was a Garrison Forest Jenkins Fellow. She traveled to the Dominican Republic with Dr. Sarah Stewart de Ramirez of Johns Hopkins Hospital to provide health services to children with HIV/AIDS.