LLS of Central PA: hero moments happen here.

It’s a screenplay fit for a superhero movie. Eight teenagers race against time to beat a seemingly unstoppable foe. Those who fought before: guide them. Those who’ve lost the battle: inspire them.

The plot is real. The characters are among us. The adversary is Blood Cancer, and the battle doesn’t stop.


I had the tremendous opportunity to tell the story of the LLS of Central PA 2017 Students of the Year. I was honored, excited, and…emotionally unprepared.


From the awe-inspiring, spontaneous speeches,


To the grand reveal,


Meeting the everyday champions in the Harrisburg community was incredibly humbling. In total, the eight students who ran for the 2017 Student of the Year raised over $174,000 in just six weeks. This is their journey:

As with any production, there are some captures I just couldn’t squeeze into the final video. I’m calling them “Raw Hero Moments,” and assembled them below.

  • Annabelle, a Student of the Year candidate, receives the “golden ticket,” allowing her to donate the proceeds raised during the ceremony to the candidate of her choice. She makes a selfless decision.
  • Just before the SOY is crowned, Erika thanks the candidates who raised money to help her son Josiah beat cancer.

To the Campaign Managers with LLS of Central PA, especially Abby and Justine, thanks for what you do. It’s truly hero work.



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I am Brandon "Bubba" Smith, first of his name, the Bionic Photog of the North. In between Game of Thrones' references, I shoot, edit, and tell stories. These are my favorite.

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