Montebello Cool Kid helps cancer patients with engineering skills

MONTEBELLO, Calif. (KABC) -- At 18 years old and still a few months away from graduating high school, Diana Knobler of Montebello is wise beyond her years.

"When I was 14 years old, my dad was diagnosed with leukemia. I'm the only child in my family, so I kind of became my mom's partner in taking care of him," recalled Knobler.

It's been three years since Knobler's father received a bone marrow transplant. So when it came time for the Applied Technology Center High School senior to complete her Girl Scout Gold Award, she decided to help the kids at Camp Ronald McDonald. It's a cost-free camp operated by the Ronald McDonald House Charities Southern California chapter, where kids with cancer and their siblings can have fun.

"Although cancer is in the body of one child, it really impacts the entire family. So to create a support system that is not just your immediate family, but an extended family, really helps them in their healing process," said Camp Ronald McDonald Executive Director Fatima Djelmane Rodriguez.

The aspiring biomedical engineer asked Camp Ronald McDonald's executive director what the camp really needed. Rodriguez gave her a simple task: get tables for the kid's kitchen.

"I said, 'You know what, I just took this awesome class that I completely fell in love with, it's an engineering class. I want to be an engineer.' I said, 'I'm going to make you the table.' She said, 'Well, they have to be wheelchair accessible.' And I said, 'I can do it. I'm going to design it,'" said Knobler.

She not only made the tables, she fundraised all the money for the build and an extra $1,000 for kitchen equipment.

"If you do something that inspires you, like this inspires me, then it doesn't feel like work at all," said Knobler.

Knobler is not only a cool kid, she's a fearless leader inspiring others one table at a time.
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