Hannah RobertsonBY LISA COLONNO DesMoinesRegister.com, Iowa
Lincoln seniors sell T-shirts to raise money for former classmate Hannah Robertson.
Three Lincoln High School seniors added an elective of their own design to their fall class load: Raise money for Hannah.
Ashley Sapp, Meagan Way and Candice Revita came up with a way to benefit longtime friend Hannah Robertson, who underwent a heart transplant before her freshman year.
What caused Robertson's heart to fail remains undiagnosed and she is now at Mercy Medical Center after a recent bout with pneumonia. Robertson struggles with brain lesions, and neurological and muscle problems, the cause of which also remain unknown after numerous tests and biopsies.
Her family aims to relocate Robertson to a facility specializing in brain injury treatment and care, but for now, must wait.
Her friends wanted to help with some of the extensive medical costs, so Revita, Sapp and Way sold T-shirts at Lincoln High School and Lincoln South in October and accepted donations to benefit Robertson, 17.
"Whatever we can do to help her and help her out," Revita said. "We're totally on board to try to help her because she's good friends with all three of us."
Robertson became ill during eighth grade at Brody Middle School. She underwent a heart transplant in 2005 when she was 14 at the University of Iowa Children's Hospital in Iowa City.
Students at Brody and co-workers of her mother, Sara Robertson, sold "Hannah's Circle of Friends" T-shirts to raise money more than three years ago.
"We thought, 'Why not do that again?' " Revita said.
The new T-shirts designed by her friends are pastel blue with pink writing or pink with blue writing. Sara Robertson, Hannah's mom, said pink is her daughter's favorite color.
Hannah, a longtime dancer, has a favorite quote that appears on the back of the shirts: "You can take the girl out of the dance, but you can't take the dance out of the girl."
"They have Hannah's picture and it will be cut out in a heart over our hearts," Revita said. "Because of the heart transplant we only thought it was fitting to do that."
The Robertson family thanks the three seniors for their hard work and friendship.
"I think it's a very nice thing for them to do," Sara Robertson said.
The girls sold the shirts for $10 each after visiting classrooms at Lincoln last month to tell Robertson's story, show her picture and explain who the donated money would benefit. Robertson, who now works with a tutor to keep up on her education, attended afternoon classes at Lincoln her sophomore year.
The turnout was amazing, Revita said. "We were so, so grateful."
Revita, Sapp and Way put in an order for more than 150 shirts in October and expect to deliver them early this month. After the costs of the shirts and printing are paid, the remaining $3 to $4 per shirt will go to the Robertson family. The teens have at least $250 in hand with more people set to make donations or pay once the shirts are delivered.
Revita said if they get enough interest for additional T-shirts, they may place another order.
She said the support they had with the first round of sales is a testament to how many friends Robertson has made.
"She's such a great person, upbeat, friends with everybody," Revita said.
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