Naperville teen receives national honor for volunteer work

NAPERVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- A Metea Valley High School senior received a top national honor for her work as a youth volunteer Wednesday.

Angie Lee is a Prudential Spirit of the Community honoree. She co-founded a youth organization that raises money to help find a cure for her rare neuro-muscular disease.

Lee never let her physical disability stop her. Instead, she's doing one of the things she does best - helping others who have the same genetic disorder she has, spinal muscular atrophy. It's a condition which causes debilitating and often fatal muscle weakness. She was diagnosed when she was just 15 months old.

"A lot of people assume I have a lot of struggles and stuff, but I want to prove that I actually don't," Lee said. "I don't have a lot of obstacles in my daily life because of the awesome friends and family."

With the help of friends and family, Lee began planning the 10th fundraising event. It will be the last to be hosted by the Metea Valley High School student who graduates this year and began in second grade with Kyra Scadden, her best friend who now lives in Georgia.

Over the last 9 years, the Angie's Hope charity has raised over $200,000 - enough to fund a year of SMA research.

"What she's done over the last 10 years is really cool," Vishal Parkash said.

"I'm always wanted to do something bigger than myself, and to help Angie find this cure," Alonzo Taylor-Jones said.

Because of her selfless efforts, the Naperville teen has been recognized both locally and nationally as a youth volunteer, now receiving the prestigious Prudential Spirit Award.

"We're promising that even though it is the last year of the large events for Angie since she is a senior, we're still promising to find a way to find a cure," Nicole Decastris said.

As her hometown recognizes her for her volunteer efforts, Lee remains humble and committed.

"All these awesome friends here are like seeds that we've planted and they'll all go off all over the country," she said.
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