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Rachel Reizner

Breast cancer awareness advocate, harp player, and athlete

Would you ever think about cutting off all of your hair and donating it to a good cause?! That’s what our Spotlight, Rachel, did after her cousin died of cancer. Rachel volunteers a lot of her time helping educate people about cancer. Read more about all the other things this busy 11-year-old does in her spare time and learn how you can make a difference in other people’s lives by volunteering too!

Would you ever think about cutting off all of your hair and donating it to a good cause?! That’s what our Spotlight, Rachel, did after her cousin died of cancer. Rachel volunteers a lot of her time helping educate people about cancer. Read more about all the other things this busy 11-year-old does in her spare time and learn how you can make a difference in other people’s lives by volunteering too!

Describe yourself to 4Girls and tell us a little about who you are.

I am Rachel. I am eleven years old, and I live in a suburb outside of Chicago. I am an honor role student. School is very important to me because it will help me succeed when I get older, and I love learning! I have all types of friendships with different kinds of kids: popular kids, shy kids, wild kids, and just plain normal kids. My favorite stuffed animal is a Dalmatian that I got when I had an asthma attack and had to go to the emergency room. I like to do all sorts of things—I’m in show choir, which is singing and dancing at the same time, and choir, which is just singing. I am also on student council and in Tech Club at school. I have played the harp for five years, and I really enjoy it. I love Tae Kwon Do. I do everything I can to help other people.

Rachel Reizner playing the harp

Do you have a role model? If so, who is it?

I look up to my mom because she supports me in everything I do and has taught me many important things I need to know in life. I also look up to my harp teacher, Courtney, because she helps decide things, such as what songs are best to play in public. I love my stepdad, Bremt, because he acts like a real father to me and loves me very much. He helps me with homework and is calm when I do not understand things. He explains them to me with out being angry. He always makes me laugh and says he loves me. He helps me feel better especially when I am feeling down. He always says that he is my dad and I am his daughter this makes me feel special!

I look up to my science teacher from the last two years, Mrs. Allison, because she made science fun. I am still her friend even thought I do not have her anymore as a teacher.

Tell us about a time you've done something you're really proud of.

A time that I was most proud of myself was at a three-day cancer walk that my cousin Wendy and I walked in. She was only 35-years-old and suffered from cancer. Even though she wasn’t able to physically “walk,” and still had tubes coming out of her, she still participated in her wheelchair! I gave her my last dollar to support the walk because I was so proud of her, and I wanted to support the cancer cause.

You have volunteered a lot of your time for causes like breast cancer awareness, the deaf, and other things. What would you tell other girls about volunteering their time for things they believe in?

They should go for it! If you strongly believe in something, then try to help accomplish it, and try your best. While you are doing the things you’re excited about, you will feel like you are making a great difference. No matter how small, you will always feel very good about what you have done and how you have helped others.

Can you tell us how the death of your cousin from breast cancer made you want to help others?

My cousin’s death made me want to help others more. I cut nine inches off of my hair for Locks of Love.Locks of Love is a cancer association that uses the real hair that people donate to make wigs for people with cancer who lose their hair. Also, I have played my harp at several Avon breast cancer walks. I rode my bike this year in a cancer ride to and raised money to help others. When my cousin was in the hospital, I would go and play my harp for her, and it made her smile and feel better. I hope when I play my harp on the walk, it helps others feel good.

Tell 4Girls about some of the other volunteer activities you do? Which of these is the most memorable or the most rewarding?

I am very busy with school, sports, and dance. I am looking into volunteering to help such causes as animal shelters and collecting money for cancer. I am trying to re-grow my hair so I can donate more to Locks of Love. I am also planning to help with a diabetes walk because one of my friends has juvenile diabetes. I help teach little kids swimming with my mom. This year I have signed up to be a helper at school in a special needs class.

What sorts of things do you do to stay healthy?

I take Tae Kwon Do, which is a good work out and fun at the same time. Tae Kwon Do has a lot of rules and it is more than just kicking and punching. It also has oaths, combinations, forms, and home rules that need to be followed. I like it when Mr. Kasapio gives us speeches, which are more like “pep talks.” He talks about abdominal spirit, which is one of the tenants of Tae Kwon Do. Abdominal sprit means having positive, strong spirit inside you that shows at all times.

I also take Hip Hop Dance that I like because there are not any rules while we learn the dances. My sister Molly is in the class with me, which makes it a lot cooler. We just did a show in the school talent show called “Car Wash” and we did great!

I am in a program called Learning for Life. It teaches team building and lessons about making good choices through fun and interesting games. A lot of my friends joined because I told them about it.

I participate in cancer walks and rides which are healthy for me and help others at the same time.

What do you think you want to do when you grow up?

When I grow up, I'd like to study astronomy, marine biology, or be a paleontologist or a scientist. I would also like to follow after my mom and get a doctorate degree. My mom is getting a doctorate degree in education so she can become a principal and help kids. I plan to get a doctorate degree in science. I also want to be an editor because I like editing my mom’s papers she has to type for school. She writes funny words like “maked” when she is not looking at the keyboard. I also would like to play my harp in symphonies and at weddings. I also want to play for people in retirement homes or hospice. I have already played at my aunt’s wedding (as a gift to her) and a wedding of my mom’s friend where I did not know anyone, but I still had a blast. I also plan to get my black belt in Tae Kwon Do—I am a high green now. I also want to help lead other kids in Tae Kwon Do.

Content last reviewed November 01, 2005
Page last updated November 01, 2005

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health.

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