By Sarah Waldrop
Holt Journal staff writer
Rylee Raine Schrader, 12, of Holt placed third on Feb. 3 in the Miracle Design contest sponsored by White Cloud. By placing third nationwide, Rylee won one of the grand prizes consisting of 15,000 dollars for Sparrow Hospital and a year long supply of White Cloud products.
Contestants had to belong to a Children’s Miracle Network Hospital and competed by designing a cover to White Cloud’s facial tissue boxes. Many of the contestants, including Rylee, are battling serious, life-long illnesses.
Rylee was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November 2013 and has been adapting to the changes that come with it ever since. However, insulin shots and a monitored eating schedule are not keeping her from pursuing her dream of acting.
Fourth-place contestant Obi Chritenson remained in close standing with Rylee throughout the completion. Nearing the end of the voting, Obi’s battle with cancer worsened and the support for the La Crescent, Minn., boy poured in.
When the voting ended, the unofficial tally showed that Rylee had surpassed Obi by 82 votes.
“Unofficial results show me in 3rd place. I would prefer that you give that 3rd place to Obi’s design,” Rylee posted to White Cloud’s Facebook page Sunday Feb. 2. Rylee’s request was not granted by White Cloud. Instead, the company made Obi an honorary winner along with the other top three contestants.
Giving up Rylee’s standing was a hard decision but ultimately it was the right thing to do and down to what Rylee chose to do, said Jodi Schrader of her daughter.
“It was a mix of emotions,” admitted Rylee, “I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.” Shocked by even being in the running for the grand prize, Rylee and her family are extremely happy with White Cloud’s decision to extend the winners to the top four contestants.
The winning designs, including Rylee’s and Obi’s, will be available to purchase at Wal-Mart stores June 1. “It will be surreal to actually hold that box knowing that it was something that she made,” said Schrader of her daughter’s winning design.