Local Teen Finalist in National Contest

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RENO, Nev. -- A local teenager will have a chance to get her artwork displayed across the country with your help. It's all part of a contest hosted by White Cloud Facial Tissues, benefiting Children's Miracle Network Hospitals.

Fourteen-year-old Stephanie Avalos has been in and out of the hospital since May 2011. She has been diagnosed with Lupus, an immune disorder that harms the body instead of helping it.

"I had blood in my lungs and it put me in a coma for i think it was a week," Avalos said. "It was pretty hard to get used to. I couldn't do what I liked doing the most like play soccer. I spend most of my days laying in bed because my bones would ache and I couldn't get up."

She couldn't even go to school, so to pass the time, she began drawing. She used art as an escape.

"It's just a way of reliving stress and draw what you're feeling," she said.

Her artwork and positive attitude paved the way to the finals in the national White Cloud Facial Tissues contest. Patients all over the country submitted their drawings and the winner gets his or her artwork printed on these special edition tissue boxes to be sold in retail stores nation-wide.

While artwork can lead to a speedy recovery, $15,000 will also be donated to help the children at Renown Health.

"All the money stays here locally despite the fact that it's a national organization," Kiemmy Boc, Children's Miracle Network Hospitals Development Specialist said.

The next time you reach over for a tissue, you might find Stephanie Avalos' name and her friend reminder for all the sick patients that they are not alone.

Stephanie is getting healthier and will be returning to school next month.

To vote, log onto your Facebook account and click on the link below. Voting ends January 30 and you can vote once every 24 hours.