Pa. girl's drawing chosen for calendar

December 10, 1998

Mariana and calendarBy RICHARD F. BELISLE / Staff Writer, Waynesboro

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer

-calendar used with permission of Wal-Mart stores

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Mariana Krawczak, a St. Andrew School second-grader, is one of 16 children from across the country whose drawings appear on a Wal-Mart calendar promoting active kids.

Mariana, 7, is the daughter of Gale and Carmen Krawczak of Greenville Drive, Waynesboro. She is confined to a wheelchair by illness.

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"The closest thing we've had to a diagnosis is congenital myopathy," her mother said.

Though seriously ill, Mariana lives as active a life as possible. An A-student, she excels in math, loves to read, writes essays about her life and keeps a personal journal on her computer.


Mariana's classmates are helpful and understanding, school officials said. "Sometimes they try to help too much and she says 'No, I can do it myself,'" her mother said.

Her illness kept her out of school and at Hershey (Pa.) Medical Center for the second half of the first grade. "Her life is constantly in danger," her mother said.

The school helps Mariana when her illness keeps her home by sending her lessons by e-mail, said Eileen Sullivan, principal at St. Andrew.

Mariana competed with kids aged 4-12 from across the country. She was the only child given an honorable mention in addition to having her drawing in the calendar. A 16-month calendar, it runs from January 1999 to May 2000, the month that shows Mariana's drawing.

CalendarThe calendar hangs on the school bulletin board open to that month. "We leave it there," Sullivan said.

The drawing shows Mariana in her "power chair" taking what she calls her "walk."

In her narrative, which had to accompany the drawing in accordance with contest rules, she wrote, "Even though I cannot walk, I ride my power chair to take our dog for a walk. I also take 'walks' all by myself to the stop sign down the street where I live. You don't have to be a walker to be an Active Kid."

"I like to draw myself doing things so I thought the best way was to draw me going for a walk," Mariana said. Her sister, Alicia, 10, also draws and Mariana tries to be like her, her mother said.

Carmen Krawczak saw an application for the contest at the Chambersburg Wal-Mart last summer. Mariana's entry won the local and regional competition, then was sent on to Wal-Mart headquarters in Bentonville, Ark., to compete nationwide, her mother said.

Entries were received from Wal-Mart's 2,400 stores, her mother said.

Mariana won a $25 store certificate for winning the local contest. She won a $50 certificate plus a year's supply of Active Kids vitamins, Wal-Mart's own brand, for being among the top 16 entrants.

The calendar is available free in pharmacies in Wal-Mart stores.

Mariana also did well in a contest sponsored by the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the organization that tries to grant a special wish to children with terminal illnesses. Mariana's drawing showed her tossing a stick to Simba, her pomeranian. The dog often rides in her lap when she goes out in her wheelchair, she said.

Mariana was given a special duty last week in Waynesboro when she lit the community's Christmas tree in the Public Square.

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