Teen uses artistic talent to help the sick

August 26, 2008 2:17:20 PM PDT
A Bay Area teenager is making big money with her own business - that's a story in itself. But there's more, every summer she walks away from the cash to give a gift to some very sick children

17 year-old Katie Chabolla has a gift.

"Probably since I was a toddler, I was always drawing and painting," said Katie Chabolla, custom shoe designer.

The Danville teenager is using that artistic talent to lift the spirits of sick kids in the hospital.

"We help them, but Katie's really made an impact on them," said Kirsten Colten, Lucile Packard Children's Hospital.

With supplies in hand Katie, travels from room-to-room and visits with young patients sometimes for two hours. She then will create, design and paint a masterpiece they can wear.

"They are really excited about the project that Katie is doing for them - they talk about it nonstop. The kids who had it last year keep talking on and on and on," said Colten.

Katie herself was hospitalized as a child. That experience is what brought her to Lucile Packard to volunteer.

"It's sad seeing them, because a lot of them have been here for a very long time. I can't imagine staying in a room for that long with nothing to do," said Chabolla.

In two weeks Katie will paint 15 pair of shoes; not enough though for every sick child here.

"There are so many kids here, I hate to say no to people - they will stop me in the halls and say 'oh hey, I have a kid and he would just love some shoes,' and I have to say there is only so much time," said Chabolla.

The best part for Katie is delivery day. Today, 18-year-old Jesse gets his personally designed dragon shoes.

"I think to be 17-years-old and have a talent, it's wonderful, but to have the insight to give to others and children - it's something we can all learn from," said Chabolla.

When she's not volunteering, Katie goes to school and maintains her own business and website. Just so you know, the average price for a pair of her custom design shoes is $200.


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