Matilda Sullivan, Prairie Grove High School, Prairie Grove, AR
“Decide that you want it more than you are afraid of it.” Bill Cosby
In 2009, Matilda’s sister was rushed to the hospital for a dislocated knee. The Sullivan family left the hospital disoriented after learning that both Matilda and her sister have Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease, a complex, genetic disease that unravels nerves and deteriorates muscles and bones. As the years progressed, their symptoms worsened. Matilda soon contemplated having surgery on her “curved and crooked feet.” After visiting the Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Matilda realized there were children with worse ailments than those afflicting the sisters. Matilda collaborated with a patient she befriended in the hospital, and the two organized what would be known as the annual Live in the Moment Benefit Concert. After the two reserved girls mustered up and combined their outgoing energies, they ended up with more than twenty performers and two guest speakers, whose young sons had died of cancer. The concert raised over $300, and gave Matilda the courage to proceed with her foot surgery. In addition to assisting in numerous service projects, Matilda is also a member of the National Honor Society, FCCL, and the Junior Bank Board.