PARKERSBURG - Two 11-year-old girls have been recognized by Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin for their work in raising money for a local breast cancer program.
In October, Rylee Harner and Madison Spears, friends in the same fifth-grade class at Criss Elementary School, decided to take Spears' love of making rubber band bracelets and raise money for a good cause.
"We thought raising money for breast cancer was a good idea because it affects so many people," said Harner, who is also serving as Pure American Junior Miss West Virginia.
Rylee Harner, right, and Madison Spears, left, 11-year-old students at Criss Elementary School, made and sold several hundred rubber band bracelets and donated the $820 raised to the “Pink Mammogram Fund” at Camden Clark Medical Center in October. (Photo by Jolene Craig)
Throughout the month of October, which is also Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Harner and Spears made several hundred bracelets and sold them to friends, teachers and their parents' co-workers for $2 each.
Along with the funds from the bracelet orders - each was made as the orders were taken - the girls also took donations from those who wanted to help their cause more than the cost of a bracelet.
"We had some people donate between $50 and $100, which is really good," Spears said.
In the end, the girls presented $820 to the "Pink Mammogram Fund" at Camden Clark Medical Center. The donation is enough to provide life-saving breast cancer screenings to eight individuals.
Earlier this month, both Harner and Spears received official letters from the governor's office.
"The comment I like the best is he thinks we will continue to make a difference in West Virginia," Harner said.
Spears said that after the success of their first "Bracelets for a Cure," she and her friend hope to take on a charity each year.
"We are thinking of giving to a different organization each year," Spears said. "We need to talk about it because we just aren't sure exactly what we want to do."
Harner added the two have so many options with those in need to help with their "Bracelets for a Cure."
"It's hard to think of what we want to do next because there are so many thing that need help," Harner said. "We just can't do them all, but we want to help everyone."