Philadelphia Teen, Graceann Rumer, Saves Schoolmates After Bus Driver Suffers Heart Attack
Seventeen-year-old Graceann Rumer is a hero -- she took over the steering wheel of her school bus after the driver fell to the ground with a heart attack, maneuvered it to safety, and saved schoolmates from a potentially fatal accident.
The bus, carrying more than three dozen students from Philadelphia's Calvary Christian Academy, was heading toward oncoming traffic, NBC Philadelphia reports.
"I just realized that there's no one driving this bus, I need to do something," Rumer told NBC Philadelphia. Since the unconscious driver, 51-year-old Charles Duncan, was blocking the brake pedal, Rumer couldn't get to it. But she managed to steer the bus into a ditch and safely off the road.
The bus driver later died in hospital.
"I've been taking driver's ed, so that worked out well," said Rumer.
For more child heroes, check out this slideshow!
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After Rachel Beckwith died from injuries sustained in a car crash near her Bellevue, Wash., home in July, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/08/02/in-death-rachel-beckwith-_n_916501.html" target="_hplink">news of the 9-year-old's birthday wish to raise $300 to build wells for those in need went viral.</a> Inspired donors have helped fulfill -- and surpass -- her mission by giving more than $1 million to <a href="http://www.charitywater.org/" target="_hplink">charity:water.</a> Rachel's mom will head to Africa next year with the nonprofit to see -- firsthand -- how her deceased daughter is continuing to save lives.
Though an optic nerve tumor nearly blinded Jeff Hanson, the 17-year-old hasn't let the condition interfere with his creativity or determination to help others, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2011/US/08/19/jeffhanson/index.html" target="_hplink">CNN reports.</a> Jeff started painting and crafting note cards while undergoing radiation treatment, and in the five years since his diagnosis, Jeff has donated more than $350,000 from the sale of his work to more than 50 children's health charities. To donate to Jeff's cause or purchase one of his paintings, click <a href="http://www.jeffreyowenhanson.com/index.html" target="_hplink">here.</a>
<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/07/18/huffpost-greatest-person-evan-moss-epilepsy_n_901987.html" target="_hplink">Seven-year-old Evan Moss</a> suffers from three to four seizures monthly, a relieving decrease from the near 400 he endured just a few years ago. To guarantee his safety, Evan's parents knew he needed a service dog, but they couldn't afford the $13,000 expense. So, Evan wrote the book <a href="https://www.createspace.com/3626033" target="_hplink">"My Seizure Dog," </a> to help raise money and also offer window into the world of a child suffering from epilepsy.
After raising $175,000 to help build 27 concrete homes in Haiti, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/14/rachel-wheeler-food-for-poor_n_1093732.html" target="_hplink">Rachel Wheeler, 12, decided to collect funds to replace a school that was destroyed in the 7.2 magnitude 2010 earthquake.</a> "I want to build a school because they need education to make their lives better so they can learn and teach their own children how to have a better life," <a href="http://www.foodforthepoor.org/newsroom/news/rachel-needs-your-help-08-10-11.html" target="_hplink">Rachel told Food For The Poor</a>, the nonprofit she's partnered with. To donate to Rachel's mission, click <a href="http://support.foodforthepoor.org/site/TR?pg=fund&fr_id=2091&pxfid=4112" target="_hplink">here.</a>
To honor his Uncle Chris, a staunch supporter of LGBTQ causes, Sam Maden, 12, was determined to get the Boston Red Sox to produce an "It Gets Better" video, <a href="http://news.change.org/stories/red-sox-announce-it-gets-better-video-against-anti-gay-bullying-joining-giants-and-cubs" target="_hplink">Change.org reported</a>. Sam got 9,000 people to sign his<a href="http://www.change.org/petitions/boston-red-sox-please-make-an-it-gets-better-video" target="_hplink"> gay rights petition</a> and the Red Sox became the third professional sports team -- in one week -- to get involved in the anti-bullying video campaign. <strong>WATCH:</strong> Sam get the honor of announcing "Play ball!" at a Red Sox game.
Taylor and Kennedy Everson
After spending the summer in Kenya, Montclair twins Taylor and Kennedy Everson decided to dedicate their ninth birthdays to raising money to adopt a village in Africa. The budding activists collected $2,650 for <a href="http://www.freethechildren.com/" target="_hplink">Free the Children</a>, the most that the organization has ever received from a children's birthday party, <a href="http://kids.baristanet.com/2011/11/montclair-girls-birthday-wish-to-raise-money-for-africa/#more-22957" target="_hplink">Baristanet reports.</a> The nonprofit helps areas in need by improving schools, health clinics and building water facilities.
To combat the schoolyard taunts, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/11/07/st-charles-students-time-_n_1079965.html" target="_hplink">Aria Novak started the "Time for Kind Day," to raise bullying awareness at her Illinois elementary school.</a> She now plans to expand her anti-bullying strategies to other school districts and has even contacted Michelle Obama for help in spreading the word.
To earn her Girl Scout Gold Award, Jillian McKigney, 17, <a href="http://pleasantville.patch.com/articles/lifting-spirits-one-toothbrush-at-a-time" target="_hplink">raised enough money to put together 500 toiletry kits for parents with children suffering from cancer.</a> The Ursuline School senior realized that these dutiful parents are often unable -- or unwilling -- to leave the hospital to fetch a toothbrush, soap, or lotion, to take care of their basic needs.
Peter Larson, 17, is celebrating his 12th straight year of sleeping in a cardboard box -- from November 12 through December 31 -- to raise awareness for the homeless population in his hometown of Plymouth, Minn. The teen has collected $400,000 for the homeless since he was six, <a href="https://iocp.ejoinme.org/?tabid=315840&joinme=10077" target="_hplink">he writes on his website</a>. This time around, Peter hopes to raise $100,000, enough money to house 50 families for an entire year. To support Peter's "Sleep Out," <a href="https://iocp.ejoinme.org/?tabid=315840&joinme=10077" target="_hplink">click here</a>.
McClain Hermes' dad bet that if she could collect 400 pairs of shoes to donate to charity, he would shave his head, <a href="http://dacula.patch.com/articles/donate-a-pair-of-shoes-for-the-soul" target="_hplink">Dacula Patch reported</a>. The 10-year-old completed the mission and took it one step further. McClain started her own foundation, "<a href="http://www.facebook.com/ShoesForTheSouls?sk=wall&filter=2" target="_hplink">Shoes for Souls</a>," in 2009 and has donated thousands of pairs of shoes to the <a href="http://www.atlantamission.org/" target="_hplink">Atlanta Mission Homeless Shelter.</a>
When he was just 14, Taylor Wilson, became the youngest person in the world to build a nuclear fusion reactor, <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2011/09/01/living/teen-nuclear-scientist/index.html" target="_hplink">according to CNN.</a> The U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Energy have encouraged him to apply a research grant and job offers have come in from defense contractors. Taylor has since built a liquid-based radiation detector, which he believes can play a critical role in the fight against terrorism. Once he secures a patent, Taylor hopes to bring his detector to Iran, North Korea, and other high-risk countries.