A Pennsbury High School student has won $10,000 for the Children’s Tumor Foundation in the national Barbara’s Believe in Better contest. Casey Schaeffer, founder of the Full Heart Kids Carnival, came out on top among hundreds of entries.
“I was flabbergasted with excitement,” said Schaeffer, 15, a Yardley resident. Schaeffer’s inspiration came years ago in fifth grade.
Trish Shalenberger, founder of A Soldier’s Hands, came into class. Together, Shalenberger and the students made cards to send to members of the military overseas. Schaeffer wanted to know what else she could do.
“So I thought of the idea of a mini-carnival, which started in my front yard. We raised $300 the first year, and then it grew.”
The most recent carnival raised more than $11,700. In total, the event has raised almost $16,000.
As for the selection to donate to the Children’s Tumor Foundation, the story is bittersweet. A younger classmate of Schaeffer’s, Altana Mukabenov, is diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis (NF).
The condition causes tumors to grow around her heart and airways. But Mukabenov is bravely fighting, and as of May was in her fifth chemo trial.
“I really want to help her out anyway I can,” Schaeffer said. “I just want to thank my friends and family for helping out with my carnival every year and always supporting me in what I do. My dad especially, he helps out with everything.”
As for the future, Schaeffer is only looking to grow her carnival with support from the local community. She hopes it to be even bigger next year.