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      Your Health Matters: A foundation of youth

      Elena Kolarevic is your typical, modern-day high school student. She takes her studies very seriously but also finds time to have some fun.

      "I like to act and I really like to dance. I take three dance classes right now. I like to read and watch movies and hang out with my friends," says Kolarevic.

      She is actually anything but ordinary. Instead you could considered her more of a business women in the sense.

      "It's really nice and hopefully maybe other people will want to start doing other things too, to start their own thing," says Kolarevic. The Traverse City St. Francis High School freshman has raised more than $1 thousand for the Munson Regional Foundation, which ultimately helps to raise dollars for medical facilities and specific programs in the region.

      Kolarevic actually has a personal reason for doing it. She was born with a condition known as diamond black-fan anemia, in which she needs to go for regular blood transfusions at Munson's Infusion Clinic.

      "It's where my blood is low almost so I get it checked every three months or if I'm feeling really sick. Then if my hemoglobin is too low, then I go in and get a blood transfusion, usually been getting two units of blood in the last few times," says Kolarevic.

      Since the blood transfusions can take several hours, Kolarevic wanted other people like herself to be able to make the time pass quickly and even enjoyable. So, with the help of family members, she was able to help Munson's foundation purchase items like DVDs and other tech-gadgets to be used at the clinic.

      "Our role is to raise dollars for all the medical facilities in the region, including Munson Medical Center and all the their programs and services, Paul Oliver and Munson Hospice and home healthcare. Elena is a great role model for us to follow. She's an example of someone who started with charitable giving at an early age," says Munson Regional Foundation president, Des Worthington.

      The young entrepreneur is also planning on raising money through the St. Francis Parish and hopefully creating care packages for the clinic that younger people can work with while getting treatment.

      "You could take them home or do while you're there, like shoe boxes, stickers, coloring books," says Kolarevic.

      "She's a teenager who is undergoing treatment herself and she wants to give back. She is out in the community raising dollars. What we know is we can pass that value on to the next generation. It's an important value when we think of the quality of life here in northern Michigan," says Kolarevic.

      For the teen though, she's just doing something she believes in. It's something she says anyone can do as long as they put their heart into it.

      "Go for it. Other people really need your help. It feels really good after to know you did something really good," says Kolarevic.

      For more information on the Munson Regional Foundation click here.