FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11-year-old Suzie Tipton of Hendersonville, N.C. will receive the Butterfly Award at the Third Annual Volvo for life Awards, Times Square, March 24
Irvine, Calif. (March 14, 2005) - An 11-year-old cerebral palsy patient from North Carolina who founded a program to redistribute secondhand medical equipment to kids and adults with special needs who can’t afford the supplies, has been named the winner of the first-ever Alexandra Scott Butterfly Award, created by Volvo Cars of North America to honor young heroes who do the extraordinary.
Suzie Tipton, of Hendersonville, N.C., is founder of “Suzie’s Closet” and will now travel with her family to New York where on March 24 she’ll be honored by Volvo and Alex Scott’s family at the third annual Volvo for life Awards, a gala event held on Times Square which honors hometown heroes of all ages nationwide. There, Tipton will receive a $25,000 contribution to the charity of her choice.
The award is named in honor of Alexandra Scott, one of the first winning heroes in the Volvo for life Awards and an eight-year-old cancer patient from Wynnewood, Pa. She gained national attention for her efforts to raise money for pediatric cancer research by holding annual lemonade stands. What started as a simple but passionate idea inspired a worldwide grassroots fundraising effort that raised $1.4 million in 2004 alone. Sadly, Alex passed away Aug. 1, 2004. Parents Jay and Elizabeth Scott continue promoting Alex’s cause and raising money for pediatric cancer research through their foundation, Alex’s Lemonade Stand.
The Butterfly Award is part of the Volvo for life Awards, a national search for and celebration of everyday heroes with Volvo providing $1 million in charitable contributions each year in honor of everyday heroes. This year, the program called for people nationwide to nominate a young hero they knew who, like Alex Scott, did the extraordinary for their communities. Hundreds of nominations were submitted, and Jay and Elizabeth Scott selected Tipton as the winner.
Tipton’s cerebral palsy has caused her to spend her life in a wheelchair and use special equipment to complete normal daily activities. Over time, Tipton learned that as special-needs children grow, they require new and often costly equipment. Her realization inspired “Suzie’s Closet,” a program encouraging children who outgrow their equipment to donate it to a “loan closet” which then gives the items to another special-needs child or adult for whom the equipment might fit perfectly.
Since 2004, Suzie’s Closet has made more than 75 equipment loans and acquired enough donated equipment to fill 2,000 square feet. Tipton’s non-profit business now offers items such as Pediasure, diapers, feeding supplies and Nebulizers, as well as special-needs resource information. Tipton’s sensitivity, imagination and caring helps families with special-needs children in the Appalachian region face life more equipped and prepared for its daily challenges, in spite of economic challenges.
“Shortly before she died, Alex spoke to us about butterflies, and we released them at her funeral as a beautiful tribute to her life. Since then, the butterfly has come to symbolize Alex, her life and her work,” said Jay and Elizabeth Scott. “The Alexandra Scott Butterfly Award will serve as an enduring tribute to her memory, and we congratulate Suzie as the first winner. Like Alex, she has turned life’s obstacles into opportunities that not only help people in need, but inspire others to contribute to their communities.”
The third annual Volvo for life Awards will be hosted by actor Jim Belushi and will feature musical performances. For more information on the Volvo for life Awards and to view stories of dozens of this year’s nominees, visit www.volvoforlifeawards.com.
Haberman & Associates,
Volvo Cars of North America,
For photos and more information on the Volvo for life Awards: www.volvocars-pr.com.
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