Miss Byram dedicated to promoting awareness of childhood cancer

Earning Girl Scout Gold Award in fight against leading killer of children


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  • Michelle Wolters Photo courtesy of Michelle Wolters



By Laurie Gordon

— In a few days, Michelle Wolters will start her senior year at Lenape Valley Regional High School. She is very involved in both her school and community and on top of her studies and extracurricular activities, she is working on her Girl Scout Gold Award which is the highest achievement one can earn in Girl Scouts. Her project is a big one and an important one. Wolters' mission is to promote awareness about childhood cancer.

“I am doing my project on Childhood Cancer Awareness because it is something I care deeply about,” Wolters said. “I find it unfair that children younger than me are diagnosed with cancer and have to spend most days in a hospital room doing treatment. Some of them don't even get a chance to live their life and it's something we all take for granted. Many people don't know much about childhood cancer.”

Cancer is the leading killer disease among children. In addition, twelve percent of children who are diagnosed with cancer do not survive. The average age a child is diagnosed is only six years old.

“It's heart breaking that about 44 children are diagnosed with cancer every single day,” Wolters said. “I've asked several of my family members and friends when Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is and they had no idea. Childhood Cancer Awareness Month is in September, and my goal is to help people be as aware of childhood cancer as they are aware of breast cancer.”

Wolters said that many people don't know that the gold ribbon represents childhood cancer. “The color gold is a precious metal and the most precious thing for a parent is their children,” she said. “For my project, I plan on going to different businesses to hang up gold ribbons and I'm even setting up a booth at Byram Day that has plenty of information about childhood cancer. I am also collecting character band-aids for the children at the Valerie Center at Goryeb Children's Hospital in Morristown Hospital. On a more personal side, I am collecting items for a personal family package for families that have children and teenagers in treatment. I have boxes and the needs list located at the Andover Presbyterian Church, Stanhope Family Dentistry, and Byram Township Municipal Building.”

Wolters has been working with Lori and Dave Wihlborg who lost their son, Nick, to cancer when he was 12. The Wihlborgs went as far as to set up their own foundation called the Nicholas Wihlborg Foundation.

“Nick would be a sophomore this year at Lenape Valley,” Wolters said. “ I will be a senior this year at Lenape Valley and I've been a member of Lenape Valley Girl Scout Troop 326 since kindergarten. I am currently serving as Miss Byram.”.

Wolters earned the honor of becoming Miss Byram for the impressive confidence, communication skills and poise she demonstrated as the audience learned of her tremendous list of accomplishments, and she answered several questions. Wolters is a member of the National Honor Society, German National Honor Society, Interact, and DECA, where she was selected as a state finalist for finance in her freshman year. She has been named Scholar Athlete for each of her three sports: soccer, swimming and track. Wolters has a varsity letter in each of these sports, and she was named NJAC 2nd Team All Conference for soccer, NJAC Honorable Mention All Conference for swimming and NJAC 2nd Team All Conference for track. She was the captain of the swim team in her junior year and next year hopes to serve as Sports Editor for the school yearbook.

Above and beyond her sports, Wolters' hobbies include working with children at her church, and with animals. She has been active in Girl Scouts since kindergarten and received her Silver Award for volunteering with Operation Paperback for soldiers and their families worldwide, and the Bronze Award volunteering for BARKS. Michelle is a member of the Andover Presbyterian Church and regularly helps in the Sunday school program.

Governor Chris Christie has designated the third week of September each year as “Go Gold for Kids With Cancer Awareness Week.”


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