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Dec 11, 2018
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Maria Horan, 22, is raising money for the Best Buddies international nonprofit. She has a goal to raise $3,000 by Nov. 2. (Cresencio Rodriguez/The Collegian)

This Fresno State student is raising money for the disabled. She needs your help

Fresno State senior and recreational administration major Maria Horan has a goal to raise $3,000 by Nov. 2. But she needs your help.

Horan is raising funds for the Best Buddies International nonprofit, which focuses on friendship, employment and leadership development of persons with disabilities worldwide.

Horan is one of seven “champions” taking part in the inaugural fundraiser for Best Buddies’ Central Valley chapter that stretches from Modesto to San Luis Obispo. Horan has had a guiding hand in her efforts from Macy Pereira, Central Valley program manager for the nonprofit’s mission expansion. Pereira challenged Horan to raise the $3,000, and Horan was happy to take on that task.

“My whole family is just centered around helping people,” with a special place in their hearts for people with special disabilities, Horan said. Perhaps, that special place in their hearts is fueled by Horan’s 25-year-old cousin Katie, who has autism.

Horan has learned there are communication barriers with people with autism, like her cousin. But that doesn’t stop her from enjoying her time with Katie, who is passionate.

“She’s really into Sesame Street as a 25-year-old woman, (it) doesn’t mean anything is wrong with her, that she can’t live a full life,” Horan said.

Living a rich, full life is exactly what Horan hopes to give to those who benefit from the Best Buddies nonprofit. By raising funds for the organization, Horan expects the funds to go toward helping more people like her cousin, she said.

“If they can’t, then we should step up and advocate for them,” Horan says of those with disabilities.

So far, Horan has raised a few hundred dollars. With the help of Pereira and a “mission manager” from Best Buddies, someone with a disability who works closely with the person who raises funds, Horan expects to meet her goal and hopefully go beyond it.

A Fresno State Best Buddies club has been established and is looking for members to join, according to Pereira.

To help Horan reach her goal, visit the fundraising page. For more information on Horan’s fundraising efforts, email Pereira at macypereira@bestbuddies.org.

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