Two local teenagers, Lauren Stapleton and Reid Zlotky, will receive the inaugural Heroes in Disguise Award being given by Heroes for Children for their extraordinary leadership and volunteerism on its Teen Board. They will receive their awards on October 27 at a new event called Heroes in Disguise Masquerade Ball at the historic Belo Mansion.
According to Julie Siegel, Heroes for Children executive director, “The Heroes in Disguise Award recognizes our hidden champions – those everyday Texans whose actions reveal them as true heroes for families battling childhood cancer. Lauren and Reid have been instrumental as leaders and volunteers on our Heroes for Children Teen Board, and we look forward to honoring them.”
Lauren Stapleton, senior at John Paul II High School and a Plano resident, has been a Heroes for Children Teen Board member since the board was founded in 2016.
Stapleton became involved with HFC because her French and PALS teacher, Madame Dowen, invited Larissa Linton to speak to her PALS class. In her words, “I fell in love with the mission of Heroes for Children!”
That led her to volunteering at the Valentines Dinner and years of service. As an HFC Volunteer, she involved her school’s National Honor Society chapter in creating hospital decorations, chaired Holiday Heroes, and this school year is chairing the Valentine's Dinner.
Cancer has touched Stapleton's family. Their next-door neighbor, Norman Wu, was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer when she was in 5th grade. “Norman's battle was my first personal encounter with this severe illness. He was not only a brilliant anesthesiologist, but he was also a loving father and friend. It was a difficult time, but I was so inspired by how the community banded together to support him and his family. That experience motivated my desire to serve Heroes for Children.”
In addition to Heroes for Children, she volunteers with Texas Therapeutic Riding Center, Bonton Farms and Special Needs Sunday School at Prince of Peace. She is a member of John Paul II's Academic Decathlon Team, serves as senior class treasurer and an officer for the French and Science National Honors Society. In her free time, she enjoys riding horses, farming and boxing.
Stapleton plans on attending Texas A&M University to study biological and agricultural engineering joining her older sister who is studying aerospace engineering. Along with her parents, she has two younger brothers and a miniature Goldendoodle named Charlie Brown.
Reid Zlotky, a senior at Greenhill School, has been a Heroes for Children Teen Board member since it was founded in 2016. He has been familiar with the organization since he attended the Light the Night opening event when he was seven years old.
Cancer has touched Zlotky’s family. “My mom suffered from breast cancer, and the son of one of my family friends suffered from Leukemia when he was a child, and thankfully survived.”
He joined the HFC Teen Board because he wanted to help support people suffering from cancer. His first year, he was involved in a myriad of volunteer activities. In 2017, he ran the Children's Hospital Oncology Playroom volunteer program. This year, he is chairing the Valentine's Day dinner.
At school, he is co-president of the Greenhill Quiz Bowl Club and Jewish Studies Club. He is also a sector leader in the Greenhill Business Society, debates on the debate team and plays ultimate Frisbee. He is also involved with Children's International Summer Village. He lives in Dallas with his parents, his twin Ryan, and twin sisters.
The Heroes for Children Teen Board is a volunteer program that provides teens in grades 7th through 12th with an opportunity to give back to their community and help families with a child battling cancer. Founded by Greenhill student, Carter Weinstein, in 2016, the Teen Board helps members gain both leadership and volunteer experience within their communities and schools. They have various ongoing programs such as hospital care package deliveries, school ambassadors, hospital room decorating and hospital play room volunteers and assist with Heroes for Children family event’s such as Holiday Heroes, Movie Day, Valentine’s Dinner and Easter Egg Hunt. For those interested in applying for the 2019-2020 school year, applications will be available in 2019.
For those interested in attending the Heroes in Disguise Masquerade Ball, tickets to the dinner and program where the teens will receive their awards, are still available for $250. Tickets for the After Party, which starts at 9 p.m., are $99 each. Event co-chairs are Morgan Hallman and Mandy Lu Ristow, and honorary co-chairs are Alison and Michael Weinstein. For more information, visit https://heroesforchildren.org/heroes-in-disguise/or contact Larissa Linton at 214.256.5824 or email@example.com.
Heroes for Children advocates for and provides financial and social assistance to families with children battling cancer. Founded by two moms, Larissa Linton and Jenny Scott Dowen, whose daughters passed away from Acute Myeloid Leukemia, Heroes for the Children has provided $5.5 million to nearly 6,000 families in need since 2004.