When Forest Hills High School juniors Brooke Fisher and Casey Boyle were brainstorming ideas for their senior project, they knew they wanted to do something that would help others.
After talking with Jennifer Raptosh, the high and middle school librarian, the girls learned that her infant nephew, Maddox Quinn Raptosh, was experiencing complications with his liver and would need a transplant.
“It’s just heartbreaking,” Brooke said.
Maddox, who is the son of Matt and Michele Raptosh of Port Matilda, Centre County, underwent the lifesaving transplant surgery at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in October, when he was just 2 months old.
Originally, the girls wanted to be tested to see if they could be a possible match for liver donation, but they are younger than 18, the age required for living donors.
So they decided for their project they’d raise funds to help Maddox’s parents with his medical expenses.
Brooke and Casey sold candy bars at the Forest Hills schools for a little over two months and held a special dress-down day.
Their efforts raised a total of $1,611.90.
“I thought we’d get maybe $500 or $600, but we never thought it would be over $1,000,” Casey said.
The pair presented the check Dec. 18 to Edward Raptosh, Maddox’s cousin and a kindergartener at Forest Hills Elementary School.
Casey said it felt really good to help the family and to know how much they appreciated it.
“We really do love and care about Maddox; he’s our little boy,” she said.
Brooke agreed and added that to them, Maddox is a part of their family.
“We wanted to do whatever it took to help,” she said.
Maddox is now at home and doing well.
His prognosis is good, but he will continue to receive medical treatment for quite some time.
Raptosh said it was beyond generous and considerate of the girls to help her family in its time of need.
“I’m very proud of them,” she said. “Maddox’s parents are so touched and are constantly emotional and overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity.”
Now that the project has concluded, the girls will write papers and share their thoughts on the experience.
“I’m doing mine on Maddox’s family and what it’s like to have a child with these kinds of issues,” Casey said.
Brooke chose to write about what it was like for Maddox being in the hospital’s neonatal intensive care unit following the transplant.
“We’re very pleased and happy with how everything came together,” she said.
Kelly Urban is a reporter with The Tribune-Democrat. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/KellyUrban25.