Power of 9 Winner Gives All

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - You enter the auditorium of Theatre Baton Rouge behind Bon Carre Business Center and there are women on the stage, including me, clucking and honking and chirping.

Director Wendy Morgan is leading us through a theater exercise known as "The Machine"

Each "player" joins the prior with an added motion and sound, before all are involved in a "machine"-like invention.

Morgan motions for the machine to go faster and we try to accelerate our sounds and movements.

I have chosen a 3 Stooges sound like Curley would make that goes "Woop, woo,woo,woo, woo, woo." It's a little tough to do it quickly, so when Morgan motions for us to slow it down, I'm relieved.

This is an adult class at Theatre Baton Rouge called "Acting for the Fun of It".

Sitting in the theater watching is Sue Hilliard and her friend. Sue is a super volunteer for the community theater.

About 7 years ago, the two women organized a Little Theater summer camp scholarship program for kids. 15-year-old Derrick White had been killed in an auto accident and was in the theater programs for years, loving every minute of it.

Sue got the idea for the scholarship because schools were cutting so many arts programs, and theatre had suffered. The scholarships would help kids who craved theater get a chance to participate in a stage a production while out of school during the summer. The scholarship was funded by White's family and donors that Hilliard found and it now opens the door to fun for two kids every summer.

Sue also helped raise the money to replace all the seats with the rich, red cushioned versions now in the theater.

"The fundraiser." Hilliard said. "In 2011, the theater was 50 years old. So all the seats were original and quite uncomfortable for the backsides."

Hillard gives more of her time to Cancer Services of Baton Rouge. Her eldest grandson has survived two bouts with cancer and its treatment. That's what originally drew her to the non-profit.

Now she shows of his work at Cancer Services headquarters on Government at Drusilla.

"My grandson is in graphic arts at LSU," says Hillard. "He designed this when he was a student at St. Jude, the word, Journey."

The shirt is beautiful. You can clearly see why he's now studying graphic art for a profession. Hilliard says that St. Jude has asked to use the design up there in Memphis.

As a retired hair stylist, Hilliard admires the wig boutique at Cancer Services. They have many styles for men and women that they can loan to cover the hair loss that a person in chemotherapy experiences.

Sue also offers to style the hair of people who are stuck in hospital beds.

What really impressed me is that Sue found out that cancer patients might need her blood and is giving that too!

"Now I go and give platelets 24 times a year, and whole blood every eight weeks," says Hilliard.

She explains that because she never had a pregnancy, her immune system was never "compromised". Doctors told her that her blood products are considered super strong for cancer patients whose immune systems are depleted by chemo therapy. She hopes to emphasize that need for "super" blood products so that men who've never had chemo and women who've never had chemo or had pregnancies might consider donating.

She also gives her time and love to Special Olympics, and through AARP does taxes for other seniors. Her willingness to give runs in a steady constant stream.

Capital One Bank, Capital Area United Way's Volunteer Center and WAFB are proud to honor a multi-tasker like Sue Hilliard.

Look for other super volunteer profiles, usually on the Last Friday of every month during the 6 o'clock news.

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