Young fund-raiser craves the spotlight


January 28, 2002|By Karen Nitkin | Karen Nitkin,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

SEVENTEEN-year-old Craig Zolotorow of Ellicott City is a bit of a ham. He loves speaking in front of an audience and has even been on national television, helping raise money for the Johns Hopkins Children's Center, where he is a patient.

When Craig, who has several chronic illnesses, requested a wish from the Make-A-Wish Foundation of the Mid-Atlantic, he chose a trip to New York to see several Broadway shows.

Craig doesn't necessarily want to be an actor when he grows up, says his mother, Phyllis, but he is leaning toward a career in communications. "He'd be a great paid fund-raiser," she said.

The all-expenses-paid trip began when a limousine pulled up to the Zolotorow home at 7 a.m. the day after Christmas. Craig and his parents, Phyllis and Mike, took the train to New York and stayed at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square for five days.

The family saw The Lion King, Mamma Mia and The Music Man. Craig had also wanted to see The Producers, but even the Make-A-Wish Foundation has limits: The smash show had been sold out for months.

The Zolotorows also went to Radio City Music Hall and had VIP passes to the Empire State Building, making it possible to walk right in without waiting in line.

When Craig was 2 1/2 years old, he was found to have common variable immunodeficiency, which leaves him susceptible to frequent infections. He is also a survivor of Hodgkin's lymphoma, diagnosed when he was 10, and suffers from Crohn's disease, anemia, hypertension and other difficulties.

Because of his illnesses, Craig is about two years behind in school, his mother said. He is in the 10th grade at Phillips School in Laurel.

But Craig's illnesses don't impair his ability to speak in front of an audience. In 2000, Craig appeared on the Children's Miracle Network Telethon. "They were asking him about his experiences at Hopkins and he was making a plea for pledges to the audience," his mother said. "He's very verbal and very quick on his feet."

That went so well that Craig has since given speeches at the American Legion convention in Ocean City and the Rite-Aid national convention in Baltimore.

In February last year, he was heard on radio station Mix 106.5, making a plea for pledges to the Children's Miracle Network. In June he was scheduled to appear again on the Children's Miracle Network, his mother said, but a setback put him in the intensive care unit at Hopkins. "He was still able to pull himself together enough to make a plea for pledges," she said. "They came to the ICU and filmed him live. He went on live from intensive care."

"I love talking. The more people the merrier. I could easily speak in front of millions of people. It doesn't make me nervous," Craig said.

A congressman visits

Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin is scheduled to visit Elkridge Elementary School tomorrow to accept a $500 check for America's Fund for Afghan Children.

Pupils raised the money by holding a bazaar, said Amy Colman, the school's Gifted and Talented Program teacher.

National Honor Society

Congratulations to Centennial High School students who were inducted into the National Honor Society for 2002. They are: Rachel Abraham, Anthony Aiello, Joshua Anderson, Matt Babcock, Matt Barwick, Haritha Baskar, Andrew Bechta, Nikki Bergling, Miriam Berg, Sanchita Bose, Jacob Brim, Courtney Burr, Evan Calvert, Claire Cardoni, Divay Chaudury, Warren Choi, Courtney Conklin, John Cooper, Kimberly Dang, Virajita David, Maria Demireva, Laura Dennis, Caitlin Emery, Kate Feldman, Kathleen Fry, Lindsey Gertler, Allessandra Gugliotti, Jina Han, Shira Heletz, Jessica Hoehn and Jeff Hill.

Also inducted were Peter Kerwin, Andrew Kiracofe, Nathan Klebanow, Marianne Klingamon, Vinu Kurian, Scott Lee, Sarah McCloskey, Mary McQuaid, Varun Malhotra, Vakul Malhotra, Ali Malik, Josh Morrison, James Pallikal, Aileen Pan, Emily Pfeiffer, Jessica Park, Scott Rediker, Kelly Renzi, Amelia Rubenstein, Charles Rutter, Mark Seifter, Grace Shen, Courtney Siegel, Katherine Spillman, Leah Suhrstedt, John Test, Reena Vaswani, Nina Wang, Teresa Wang, Gihan Wickramaratne, Peter Wei, Cara Yang, Eric Yeh and Peter Young.

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