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May 2, 2008
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Fighting Cancer, Teen Reaches Out to African Orphans

Kristin Elliott, 18, Asked Make-A-Wish Foundation to Help Build African Orphanage

Kristin Elliott of Richmond, Texas, now 18, has been fighting an aggressive form of cancer since she was 16. That was when the all-state volleyball player had a massive tumor removed from her leg.

Cancer patient Kristin Elliot is raising money for an AIDS orphanage in Africa.

Learn more about Kristin's orphanage Faith West Academy.

"All this attention and kind of flattery, and saying, I'm an inspiration is kind of, I'm not used to it," she said.

Her mother, Terri Elliott, said, "With her type of cancer, it's very rare, the statistics are not good. And like 2 percent of the population of the world have it, and they don't survive past a year."

Kristin's endured multiple surgeries and radiation, and she has kept playing on.

"All through it, she didn't miss any school, she didn't miss her volleyball. She lived, she pulled us along," Terri said.

Kristin even traveled to Africa on a church trip during a remission. And when in Zambia, she and her sister worked with children orphaned by AIDS.

"They asked me what I wanted, if I wanted a vacation, to meet an actor, or to get something, you know a camera, computer, stuff like that."

The most common request is a Disney trip, but Kristin wanted something more than make believe.

"I told them that I wanted to build an AIDS orphanage house in Africa, and I wanted them to help," she smiled, "if they could."

Teri Andrepont of the Make-a-Wish Foundation said, "We've never, never had that request before -- never, never an orphanage."

"There was a man there with me, and he just kinda looked at me like, 'Are you sure? That's what you want?'" Kristin recounted. "Of all the things you could ask for, are you sure? And I just thought, Yeah, that's what I want. I can't imagine anything else that I would need."

"How Kristin-like! It didn't surprise me, that Kristin would make a request as selfless as that," her brother Brandon said.

Children orphaned by AIDS and other diseases attend school next to the Mother of Mercy Hospice in Chilanga, Zambia. in Chilanga, Zambia, February 2003.
(Tom Stoddart/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Her father, Darryl Elliott, said, "We tried to talk her out of it -- really didn't talk her out of it -- but just 'You sure? You sure you really want to do this?' This is big."


And so the Make-a-Wish Foundation gave her $2,600. Kristin is raising donations on her own Web site, and now has $8,000 to put toward her orphanage. kristins miracle house webpage

"The power of one person can do a lot, I guess, I mean it just takes one thought, one decision, to change a whole lot of things." Kristin said.

Learn more about Kristin's orphanage Faith West Academy.

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Posted: May 2, 2008 11:49pm


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Terri S.
, 1, 2 children
Phoenix, AZ, USA
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