Sara Hutton is a girl with a heart for others.
Sara, a high school senior who had open–heart surgery when she was just 15 months old, is an activist who found help from The Salvation Army with one of her projects.
Sara also has a genetic defect called Robinow Syndrome, which causes skeletal, facial, and spinal malformations. A few years ago at her home in Hurley, N.Y., Sara hosted 22 families affected by Robinow’s.
When Sara’s mother, Anita, began raising funds for the meeting, a friend told her that The Salvation Army might be able to help through a program that allows people to donate frequent flyer miles. (See sidebar.) Anita says the Army donated thousands of flyer miles that allowed families from as far away as France to come.
“We just hung out and had fun for four days,” Sara says. “It was nice to hang out with kids who are going through the same thing as me.”
Issues of the heart
Naturally, Sara also is an activist for heart issues. Sara was just an infant when doctors discovered a hole between the two bottom ventricles of her heart. Her parents rushed her to Boston’s Children’s Hospital, where she underwent surgery.
As she grew, Sara developed a deep desire to help others. Last summer, she played her violin at a benefit concert to raise more than $3,000 for a gazebo at the Edward J. Madden Open Hearts Camp in Great Barrington, Mass. Sara has attended the camp since she was
It’s not the first time Sara, 17, has put her violin to use for a good cause. She played for 10 hours in a row last December at her local mall to help raise money for AIDS orphans in the African country of Tanzania. She did so through The Carpenters Kids Program at her church, St. John’s Episcopal in Kingston, N.Y., which sponsored 70 orphans in the village of Nala and raised $25,000 for a library.
“I’ve gone to church every Sunday my whole life,” Sara says. “I’d say the biggest motivation is just me wanting to help people. Maybe it’s because when I was little, I had a lot of problems and the people who helped me, I guess I looked up to them and wanted to be
The AIDS project was close to Sara’s heart because she already sponsors an orphan each month on her own. She helped decorate 70 gift bags her mother and 19–year–old sister, Lauren, delivered to Africa last year. Sara was not old enough to go, but she found a way to raise money for the project: She placed donation cans near the lunch registers at Kingston High School.