Megan's Fund

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Hair stylists cut and file for Megan scholarship

Monday, March 22, 2004

For The Patriot-News

The hair dryers at Kenneth and Co. Beauty Clinic in Camp Hill are usually silent on Sundays, but this week the sound of the electric fans filled the salon as clients came to aid a worthy cause.

From 9 a.m. to noon, stylists volunteered to cut hair and give manicures, donating the proceeds to a memorial scholarship fund in the name of Megan Bolton, who worked as an assistant at the clinic in the summer of 2001.

After a car accident killed 17-year-old Megan last July, her friends and family started the scholarship fund for area students. Recipients of the first two scholarships will be selected in April. Scholarship applicants must submit an essay on the meaning of friendship.

"If you have children, you feel like you have to be a part of it," said Kenneth Dum, CEO of Kenneth and Co. Beauty Clinic.

"She had a very positive outlook on life, very motivated," said Kathie Dum of the clinic. "It's an opportunity to help the youth of Camp Hill, and being a parent I can definitely understand the loss of a child."

In the back of the clinic, Charlie Ryerson, a Kenneth and Co. stylist, painted the nails of Megan's 6-year-old sister, Madeleine, whose blond hair was newly cut and styled in bouncy Shirley Temple curls. With her tongue sticking out, she admired her sparkly red nails.

"You wanted extra sparkles, right?" Ryerson asked Madeleine. "The more sparkles the better, right?"

"She was always smiling," Ryerson recalled of Megan. "She always seemed to be happy, always did a good job."

Ryerson and Janice Bolton, Megan's stepmother, came up with the idea of setting up a fund-raiser to benefit the scholarship fund.

"I thought it would be nice to be able to do something for somebody that worked here," Ryerson said. "We do so many fund-raisers for people that we don't really know on a personal basis."

"It was Charlie's idea and it was a great idea," Bolton said. "Everybody signed on board, which was really fabulous. It's really unique getting a service rather than asking someone if they can please write a check. If she knew what was going on, she would be so thrilled."

Yesterday's work raised $1,500 to add to the $10,000 already raised.

Some of Megan's closest friends attended yesterday, showing their support. Kristen Moody, 18, of Camp Hill, received a manicure, painting her nails pink -- Megan's favorite color.

"We used to do our hair and makeovers together," Kristen recalled. "She definitely loved it. She was excited and wanted to be in the salon. As soon as she got home and told me she had the job, she mentioned how she would get discounts on hair cuts and nails."

"She liked to make people laugh," said Tessa Miller, 18, of Enola. "That was her favorite thing to do."

"She was very lively and entertaining, always really funny and kind to everyone, Kristen said. "She had so many different friends, because she just loved everyone."

At the sink, stylists in their red "No Regrets" shirts were busy shampooing. The talk was of weddings, spring and Megan. "She was so sweet," one stylist said to her client. Said Tessa, "She would have appreciated everyone that came."

HOW TO HELP - Tax-deductible contributions may be mailed to:

Friends of Megan Bolton Memorial Fund
c/o The Greater Harrisburg Foundation
P.O. Box 678
Harrisburg 17108-0678
For information or to donate by credit card, call the foundation at 236-5040.


Teen's death inspires fund, Family, friends start scholarship

Of The Patriot-News


Megan Bolton had a two-word motto: No regrets. It was a blunt, practical philosophy, an invocation against despair when things went wrong. "She said life is going to do what it's going to do.

You really can't do anything about it so you have to stay positive," recalled Megan 's father, Gage Bolton, a man trying to come to grips with his daughter's death in July. It happened with terrible suddenness. Megan , 17, was driving on Route 15 in Adams County, on the way from her mother's house in Maryland to her father's house in Camp Hill, and lost control of the car. It crossed the median and collided with a pickup truck.
She died at the scene.

"The police don't know what made her cross the median," Gage Bolton said. "The state police said it was a driver that was not experienced. They see it all the time with teenagers."

This is not a story about the dangers facing teen drivers, at least not entirely. Bolton said he doesn't want to ignore that lesson, but at the same time he doesn't want his daughter to be remembered only as a teen traffic fatality.

That's why he has created a scholarship called the Friends of Megan Bolton Memorial Fund. It will honor his daughter's life by benefitting students at the two high schools she attended, Camp Hill and Brunswick High School in Maryland. Bolton is trying to spread the word so the scholarship will be funded and available to students by spring. Friends said Megan would have loved the idea.

"She was always stressing about where she was going to get the money to go to college," said Jenn Spatz, a senior at Camp Hill High School who met Megan in middle school. "If she knew she had made it possible for someone else to go to college, it would make her so happy."

Megan 's friends remember her as a vibrant, quick-witted girl, a gifted artist and athlete whose overriding desire was to see other people happy. "You could call her when you felt like your whole world was falling apart and she could make you feel better," Spatz said.

Megan liked punk rock and other high-energy music and went to great -- even embarrassing -- lengths to spread cheer. "If looking stupid would make people happy, she would do it," said Tessa Miller of Enola, Megan 's cousin and closest friend. "She would give you the last two dollars in her wallet if she had to."

To honor his daughter and help publicize the scholarship, Bolton turned to the World Wide Web, creating a site called Friends of Megan . Its message board contains dozens of tributes to Megan from friends in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Several entries are from Miller, 18, who has coped with her cousin's death by writing letters to her every day on the site or in a private journal. Each opens with the same salutation: "Hey best friend!"

"We never knew how to start e-mails to each other," Miller said. "We used to write 'I miss you,' but that was too sad. So we decided we would always start 'Hey best friend!'" The site also contains a gallery of photos submitted by family and friends: Megan in toddler's pigtails, in field hockey gear, in formal wear for a dance.

For the home page, Bolton borrowed and slightly altered the final stanza of a 19th century poem called "Annette," by Robert Richardson: Warm summer sun shine kindly here Warm southern wind blow softly here; Green sod above, rest light, rest light, We love you, Megan , Good night, good night.

Bolton knew the lyrical farewell because it appears on the tombstone of Mark Twain's daughter, who died in 1896 at age 24. "Parents shouldn't bury their children," Bolton said.

HOW TO HELP - Tax-deductible contributions may be mailed to:
Friends of Megan Bolton Memorial Fund
c/o The Greater Harrisburg Foundation
P.O. Box 678
Harrisburg 17108-0678
For information or to donate by credit card, call the foundation at 236-5040.


Website by: Rick Weaver

In loving memory of a beautiful daughter, sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin and friend