By Brenda L. Holmes
INDIANAPOLIS — The American Red Cross has decided to honor two young Hendricks County cancer survivors for their humanitarian efforts.
Maeci Young, 13, of Danville, and Gracie Bennett, 6, of Avon, will be among the 2013 Red Cross Hall of Fame award honorees. The media advisory said the girls were being honored “for building upon their own experiences with cancer to give back to other children dealing with life-threatening illnesses.”
The young ladies met in 2010 when they were both receiving chemotherapy treatments at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis.
Maeci is the daughter of Keli and Jay Young and Gracie is the daughter of Chris and Stephanie Bennett.
Gracie was diagnosed with Oligoastrocytoma, a brain tumor, in February 2010. Maeci had been diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in April of that same year.
The two families met during treatment and have become the best of friends.
The girls even ended up taking their Make-A-Wish trip together at Disney World. After their Make-A-Wish trip, the girls decided they wanted to make wishes come true for other children, so they started the Maeci & Gracie’s Gives Back A Wish Softball Tournament in 2011. They’ve been able to grant wishes for six Make-A-Wish children.
This year’s softball tournament is May 18 at Avon Softball Park. The entry fee is $200 per team. All funds go to Maeci and Gracie’s foundation.
“We created the foundation so we can donate to other organizations,” Stephanie Bennett said. “Now, along with Make-A-Wish, we will be able to donate to Riley Hospital, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and the Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation.”
The Maeci and Gracie Give Back Foundation fund is being facilitated by the Hendricks County Community Foundation. They are currently trying to raise the initial $5,000 to become a permanent endowment. Anyone can donate to the fund through the community foundation. Checks may be made payable to the Hendricks County Community Foundation and mailed to 6319 E. U.S. 36, Suite 211, Avon IN 46123. The memo on the check should say “Maeci and Gracie Give Back.”
The American Red Cross will host the Hall of Fame Awards, presented by CNO Financial Group, at noon April 26 at the Conrad Indianapolis, 50 W. Washington St.
The girls will be honored along with seven other Indiana residents for their contributions to the community. The ceremony will consist of videotaped segments featuring each of the honorees and the actions or service for which they are being recognized, as well as the presentation of their Hall of Fame awards and lapel pin.
Gold sponsors for this year’s event are the Indianapolis Indians at Victory Field, Indianapolis Power & Light Company (IPL), John Fleck Photography, and Outside Source Design.