The following information comes from a Community Consolidated School District 15 press release.
Rosie Colucci, a fourth grader at Stuart R. Paddock School, has been named the 2014 American Red Cross recipient of the Youth Good Samaritan Award.
Rosie received the award April 30 at the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago Region’s Heroes Breakfast in the Imperial Ballroom at the Fairmont Chicago.
Annually, only 10 adults and one child are chosen for recognition at the Heroes Breakfast for their acts of great bravery, dedication, and service to the community. This year, 178 deserving nominees were considered for the awards.
Rosie was nominated by Blair Janis, a DePaul University student and friend who has worked with Rosie at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago and a variety of Children’s Miracle Network events.
“For a nine-year-old kid to have changed the lives of so many people like Rosie has is just pretty incredible,” said Blair.
Rosie was diagnosed with cancer at age 3. She’s had 21 surgeries and 308 rounds of chemotherapy, and she has spent 47 nights in the hospital and made 26 visits to the emergency room.
But—from her winning smile, upbeat attitude and desire to help others—most can’t tell she’s been ill for most of her young life.
In fact, Rosie’s nickname, Rock Star Rosie, was given to her by her doctors and nurses at Lurie Children’s Hospital because of her positive attitude and the way she faces her fears head on, just like a rock star.
“I have brain cancer, NF1, hydrocephalus, Pituitary Gigantism + but that’s not the only thing I am,” states Rosie’s Twitter profile, @RockStarRosie1. “I fundraise, raise awareness for Pediatric Cancer & sprd Joy!”
Over the past six years, Rosie has raised more than $325,000 for pediatric charities, including her beloved Lurie Children’s Hospital. She also created Rosie’s Toy Box, her very own charitable organization that allows her to bring joy, sunshine, and hope to hospitalized kids one toy at a time by working with different Chicago area schools, businesses, and corporations to organize toy drives.
Rosie promotes blood donation, as well, by speaking to high school and college students about the need for blood and the gift of life they can give so easily. During these campus visits, Rosie is fond of saying, “One pint saves three lives, you know?” Sometimes she even dresses up like a blood drop.
Even though she has only lost her hair twice due to chemotherapy, she has been bald four times, as she has shaved her head at local St. Baldrick’s events the last two years to help raise awareness and funding for pediatric cancer research.
Also, for the last five years, she has been the top individual fundraiser for Lurie Children’s Hospital’s Chicago Dance Marathon, dancing a total of 13.1 hours.
Throughout it all, Rosie’s older sister, Bella Colucci, an eighth grader at Walter R. Sundling Junior High, has been right by Rosie’s side, said their mother, JoAnne Colucci. Whether it was while volunteering and fundraising, or during another round of cancer treatments and brain surgeries, Bella has been Rosie’s No. 1 supporter, all while maintaining a high grade point average and making the Principal’s List, she noted.
During the Heroes Breakfast, Rosie and Bella met CBS2 news anchors Rob Johnson and Kate Sullivan (pictured above), who hosted the sold-out ceremony attended by nearly 1,000 people.
They were all treated to the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago Region’s videos detailing stories of each of its 2014 award recipients. Check out Rosie’s video here.