Bella Muntean is freshman at a local high school with osteosarcoma, a cancer that starts in the bones. The treatment she was undergoing did not stop the tumors from growing. Her doctors have told her there is nothing else they can do for her and she has entered hospice care. Bella's strength and positivity have qualified her as a hero. When she was given her diagnosis and only a 20 percent chance of survival in January 2017, Bella chose to fight the odds. She endured chemotherapy, but continued to go to school and practice playing her flute. She also started a charity to provide children being treated for cancer with toys, gift cards, and other items. Even though she is in hospice care, Bella continues to encourage everyone around her with her persistent spirit and kind heart. She has inspired the whole community to be strong, never give up, and believe in miracles.
Holocaust heroine Irena Sendler rescued over 2,500 Jewish children from the Warsaw ghetto during WWII. Irena, along with friends and colleagues, made over 3,000 false documents to help Jewish families escape the ghetto. She also used her Social Welfare Department permit to enter the Warsaw Ghetto where she often smuggled aid in and children out. Irena used many methods to get the children past Nazi guards such as hidden under a stretcher in an ambulance or concealed in trunks or suitcases. She even put sedated children in body bags! Others were taken out through sewer pipes or other secret underground passages. After getting the children out, the children were placed in homes or hidden in convents and orphanages with the understanding that one day the children would be returned to their Jewish relatives. Irena made lists of the children’s real names on thin tissue paper and hid them in jars, which she buried. Irena was eventually caught by the Nazis where she was beaten and tortured. She was sentenced to death for her acts, but managed to escape on her way to her execution. Irena Sendler is a true heroine. She risked her life to save others. She showed bravery and courage every time she helped a Jewish person whether it was giving them food and supplies or bringing a child out of the ghetto.
Francis Marion was one of six children in the Marion family. He was often sick as a child and has been described as thin and pale even as an adult. Francis never had a formal education, but his military strategy was genius. He used his knowledge of the swamps and tactics he had learned from the Native Americans to repeatedly outwit British troops during the American Revolution. He was so successful in his raids and disruption of the British plans that his militia was asked to join the Continental Army. Francis Marion overcame his childhood illnesses to become a courageous and successful Patriot leader. Without any kind of formal education, his military techniques kept the British occupied and assisted in the ultimate victory of the Patriots over the British. Francis Marion showed integrity as he did not allow his men to plunder enemy homes as other leaders did. He also did not believe in unnecessary bloodshed. Francis Marion is a war hero and went on to become a hero of our state. He argued against punishing those who remained loyal to the king during the war. He wanted to see the new state prosper. Francis Marion is honored with statues built in his honor and parks, lakes, cities, counties, and even a university named for him. Marion is a true hero.
Eleanor Roosevelt went from a shy, awkward young girl to “America’s most admired woman.” She found her independence and self-confidence by volunteering to help others. When her husband, Franklin Roosevelt, became president in 1933, Eleanor was worried that she would have to give up her work to make life better for others, but instead, she changed the role of First Lady from that of a hostess to one of activism in the realm of political, racial, and social justice. Because Franklin had been crippled during his bout with polio, Eleanor became his “eyes and ears.” She traveled the country and reported back on the conditions she encountered. She used her role to influence government policy and programs as well as social reform. She championed civil rights for African Americans and advocated for women, American workers, the poor, and the young. She also promoted issues that were important to American troops, worked to boost soldiers’ morale, encouraged volunteerism on the home front and championed women employed in the defense industry during World War II. Eleanor also wrote a newspaper column called “My Day” from 1935 until 1962. She used the column to share her activities and communicate her position on a political and social issues. After her husband’s death, Eleanor continued her work. From 1946 to 1953 she served as a U.S. delegate to the United Nations. She also served on the board of numerous organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and the Advisory Council for the Peace Corps. Eleanor continued to write news articles as well as host radio and television programs to share her ideas and activities and motivate others. Eleanor Roosevelt is an American hero. She went into places that others of her stature wouldn't. She championed people who had no voice in society or politics. She truly wanted to better the lives of others. Her work to change viewpoints, attitudes, and policy brought unprecedented reform and continues to influence our lives today.