Girl who helped those in need gets the kindness returned

HAPPY VALLEY, Ore. - For the past few years, 12-year-old Kiara O'Keefe has celebrated her birthday by giving up her presents and, instead, organizing fundraisers.

She's helped get money for kids who can't afford to play sports, and she has collected a thousand dollars in donations for hurricane victims.

But now she needs some help of her own.

Kiara was back at school Monday after missing most of this year and much of last year. She just spent more than a month at the Mayo Clinic.

Specialists were treating the tongue-twisting list of diseases and syndromes that have attacked her. She's had periods of fainting spells, as many as 15 or 20 a day, and pain so bad she couldn't walk.

"So it's nice to feel like she's got a game plan of 'I'm back,'" said Kiara's mother, Donna. "She's just ready to plow forward and keep on going. She doesn't miss a beat at all."

Her family, though, is looking at tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills that aren't paid by insurance.

Many people are coming to help. At the Ceramic Caf they're selling bracelets to raise money. And the charity group Kiara and her mom work with is organizing a fundraising dinner and Bunko game from them.

And while Kiara never thought she'd be the one needing help, she figures it shows everyone is the same.

"You're living right now, and you probably have a good life, but what about the people who don't?" she said. "They need your help. Just because you're fine, doesn't mean other people are."

Kiara will be 13 years old Wednesday. She says since she's been in the hospital, she hasn't had time to figure out what she'll do to raise money for other people. But she'll think of something.

To help, click here: Kiara 4 Mayo Clinic