Three days before the 20-hour Relay for Life, Megan Wollett had anterior cruciate ligament Ñ commonly known as ACL Ñ surgery but insisted on participating in the relay regardless.
She completed 16 of the 20 hours either in a wheelchair or on crutches. She further demonstrated her dedication to the cause by collecting approximately $1,100 in contributions for cancer research from friends and family after sending out letters soliciting the financial assistance.
A STERLING resident, Megan, 15, is the Loudoun Volunteer Services' Student Volunteer of the Month for July. The program recognizes student volunteers or a group of volunteers monthly for a remarkable track record of volunteer work in the community.
"We recognize outstanding volunteers like Megan because the youth is our future," said Lisa Rose, Loudoun Volunteer Services coordinator. "She is a good example for peers and adults alike."
Megan remembers beginning to volunteer at the ages of 5 and 6. She was attracted to volunteer work because she would get bored and searched for something else to occupy her time. "I started doing volunteer work and I liked it," Megan said.
What began as a cure for boredom 10 years ago has taken shape as a significant part of Megan's life. "Volunteer work is important to me because it gets me involved in the community," she said. "It really opened my eyes to the needs of others."
MEGAN HAS participated in a variety of volunteer activities, including the Special Olympics; Loudoun County Parks, Recreation and Community Services; Very Special Arts of Loudoun; Loudoun County Public Schools; Relay for Life; and Challenger Baseball.
Megan has worked with the Special Olympics for the past three seasons, where she helped with the youth basketball team and refereed soccer tournaments. In 2003 and 2004, she assisted the youth soccer team and was the timekeeper for the swim team.
For two weeks, she volunteered at the adaptive recreation camp for Loudoun County Parks, Recreation and Community Services, where she helped with group activities and field trips.
She also helped with props and lines for the Very Special Arts of Loudoun and volunteered in the 2004 International Festival in Washington, D.C. In "Twelve Dancing Princesses," she played a stand-in role and also helped with props and audiovisual equipment.
Megan has assisted with Challenger Baseball since 1999 and said that it was her most rewarding volunteer experience. A girl that she was coaching at the event was running bases in the wrong order.
"I spent a lot of my time trying to help her run the bases in the correct order," Megan explained. "The last game, she ran to first base, then second and third."
For Megan, the most difficult part of volunteering is patience. "It's sometimes very difficult to keep people under control until you get to know how they work better," she said.
DESPITE HER dedication to volunteer work, Megan knows when to press pause on her volunteer work in order to complete her school work. "School work always comes first no matter what," she said.
A rising sophomore at Dominion High School, Megan is on the volleyball and soccer teams. In addition to sports, school and volunteerism, Megan also enjoys reading, especially mystery novels.
Rose said that Megan was selected based on a nomination and was selected by a committee that evaluated her volunteer work. Volunteer Services will honor Megan with a certificate and pin.