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Derry

November 29, 2012

Derry teen is named a 'champion'

DERRY — A Derry teenager was one of 17 youth honored at the Statehouse recently as “champion” children.

Pinkerton senior Janelle James received the honor from the state’s Council for Children and Adolescents with Chronic Health Conditions as part of Childhood Chronic Health Conditions Awareness Week.

Janelle, 17, was nominated by Pinkerton staff members Linda Brennick and Sandra Adams.

Janelle, called “humbly courageous, positively determined and strong in fortitude” in the nomination letter, was diagnosed with acute myeloblastic leukemia at 14.

She endured chemotherapy and spent her entire freshman year of high school in Children’s Hospital in Boston.

She is now known as the “Energizer Bunny” around the Pinkerton campus, excelling in her classes and doing everything a typical teen does.

“She attended the junior prom, took driver’s education, and even traveled to China as part of the annual Pinkerton exchange program and toured in a motorized wheelchair,” Pinkerton spokesman Chip Underhill said.

He said Janelle’s objective is to someday become a teacher. Her health challenges continue, including having a second hip replacement earlier this month.

For Janelle, a career as a math teacher appeals. She said getting the award was “pretty wonderful.”

“I love math,” she said, “and I always wanted to be a teacher.”

She will be back in the classroom in a few weeks.

Both Brennick and Adams said Janelle lives far beyond her young years in wisdom and maturity.

“Her passion is to live as a responsible, caring and healthy woman,” they wrote in their nomination. “Janelle was confronted with the end of her childhood, yet conquered cancer with a prowess and victoriously sweet smile.”

All award winners met Gov.-elect Maggie Hassan, who also has an adult child with a severe condition. Hassan once served on the Council for Children and Adolescents with Chronic Health Conditions.

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