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Customized bracelets raise funds for ill White Oak girl

Jennifer R. Vertullo | Daily News
Doing their part to raise funds for the Hrinda family are Mon Yough Catholic students, from left, Kristina Schriane, Nora Marzaloes, Brianne Pasternak, Isabella Countryman, Ava Dzurenda, Maya Pozivak and Gabby Mejalli.

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By Jennifer R. Vertullo
Monday, Sept. 23, 2013, 4:36 a.m.

Mon Yough Catholic students are turning their favorite hobby into a helpful handcraft in support of 9-year-old Gabby Hrinda, who is recovering from a cerebral aneurysm suffered in 2012.

Classmates of Gabby's 10-year-old brother, Andrew, saw how the Hrinda family has been affected by her treatment and recovery — everyone keeping their spirits high despite the stress of long hours in the hospital and expensive medical bills.

“I could see the family struggling,” fifth-grader Isabella Countryman said. “I thought it would be nice to help out, so we turned something we were already doing into a fundraiser.”

With the popularity of rainbow loom bracelets attracting the attention of many circles of friends at the elementary and middle school level, Mon Yough Catholic kids started taking orders from all the classrooms. For $2 each, students are making customized bracelets for classmates who want to help Gabby any way they can.

“We like to make bracelets in our spare time,” Brianna Pasternak said. “We are doing something we like for a good cause.”

Students are filling orders rapidly as Hrinda family supporters prepare for “Gabby's Fun Run,” 5K race for adults, children and pets on Oct. 5 at 9 a.m. in White Oak Regional Park.

In advance of that event, members of the Dzurenda family are sharing their creativity by designing T-shirts to support Gabby. They are being sold at the school for $5 each.

For more information, call Mon Yough Catholic School at 412-672-2360.

Jennifer R. Vertullo is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1956, or

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