The Pay It Forward Challenge
Mary Schmit organizes the local challenge, taking 150 5- and 6-year-olds to see Sesame Street Live. She taps local businesses to pay for transportation, snacks and souvenirs—a T-shirt, Sesame Street book and Elmo doll for every child.
For the national project, Sharon Kopp works with the American Cancer Society. With help from the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque, Sharon Kopp turns $1,000 into $100,000! The money will be donated to Iowa Hope Lodge, a rent-free place for cancer patients to live during treatment away from home.
Valerie Creedon takes on the international project, finding Joshua, an 11-month-old boy from Ireland with arthrogryposis, a crippling joint condition that was affecting his arms and legs. Not knowing how to treat the condition, doctors in Ireland had amputated Joshua's legs above the knees. Valerie and her friends raise money to bring Joshua to a Shiner's hospital in Chicago for surgery to save his arms.
Kelly Blask helps out by raising additional money for the projects. "We have decided to keep this going and are setting up a foundation so we can continue to help others in need," she says.