WARSAW – Camille Kerlin is not an imposing figure, not in the least. The petite Warsaw Community High School senior, however, made a huge statement with her efforts for a massive campaign.
Kerlin dreamed and stood up for kids like her all over the country in the first running of Racquets For Riley, a fundraising initiative to raise money and awareness for Riley Children’s Hospital. Kerlin, a member of the WCHS girls tennis team, not only helped organize and host the event, but even designed the mulberry T-shirts several of the supporting staff wore throughout the day Saturday at the WCHS tennis courts.
Kerlin was born premature and weighed just two pounds over 17 years ago and dealt with a myriad of health issues as her life took form. While continuing to grow, Kerlin needed the help of Riley Children’s Hospital to pull through.
“The doctors gave her a five percent chance of making it through when she was born,” said Diane Kerlin, proud mom who helped organize the event. “She is such a great kid, and she worked so hard to get this to come together. I’m so proud of her.
“She’s my five percent baby.”
Donations were taken from several businesses and individuals throughout the area, to which the Kerlin’s were not able to offer a total Saturday as donations will continue to come in for the next couple weeks. A look at the back of the T-shirts worn by the event staff was proof of the work, with nearly two dozen business logos on board. The Kerlins expect a figure to exceed over $5,000 based off the legwork prior to the event.
The event itself was comprised of donation tennis, where players began playing at 10 a.m. on the WCHS courts. There was no real end-goal for play, but solely for the aid of Camille’s cause she feels deeply about returning the favor.
“It feels really nice to help Riley, and it means a lot to me,” Camille said. “It’s amazing to see just how generous the community has been. Riley was there for me when I needed them, and they have been there for so many kids. It means a lot that the community would help me with this.”
For anyone interested in a late donation or more information on Racquets For Riley, contact Kerlin at (574) 267-2120 or go to www.racquetsforriley.com.