High school senior fundraises, raises awareness for concussions, traumatic brain injuries

For high school senior Madeleine McCluer, completing her senior project was more than just a graduation requirement at Hickory High School in Hickory, North Carolina—for her, it was personal.

Madeleine McCluer will join UNC’s class of 2022 this fall. She plans to major in biology

In October 2016, Madeleine suffered a concussion and has been dealing with the symptoms from it ever since.

As part of her requirements for the International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma program, she had to complete a project that made a difference in the community in some way. She chose to raise funds for concussion and traumatic brain injury research, specifically at the Matthew Gfeller Sport-Related Traumatic Brain Injury Research Center at UNC.

“I chose to do a fundraiser that would benefit many people all over the world,” she said. “And the Gfeller Center does such amazing work.”

For her senior project, Madeleine raised money by coordinating a booth at one of her school’s home football games. Prior to the fundraiser, she made posters and decorated donation buckets to use as attention-grabbers at the game. During the game, she had volunteers provide entertainment, collect money, and talk to people about concussions and traumatic brain injuries to raise awareness.

“Through this experience, I was able to learn new information about the effects of traumatic brain injuries and how common they are,” she said. “Knowing how many people benefit from what the Gfeller Center does—and knowing that I would have a part in helping them—is the most rewarding part of this project.”

Madeleine raised $900 at the fundraiser—all of which she donated to the Gfeller Center.

“I greatly admire the work that is done at Carolina to benefit and help others, and I appreciate the opportunity to help their efforts,” she said.

At Hickory High School, Madeleine is a member of Beta Club, Mu Alpha Theta mathematics honor society, National Honors Society and vice president of Juniorettes, a service organization. She has also been a member of the cheerleading squad all four years.

Madeleine will join UNC’s class of 2022 this fall. She plans to pursue a degree in biology and one day go into the medical field.

By Kayla A. Blevins ’16