Monday, September 24, 2007
Lindsay Avner
Albert Camus said, "There are some people who prefer to look their destiny straight in the eye." Lindsay Avner is, without a doubt, one of those people. At a healthy 23, she volunteered to get a double mastectomy because virtually every woman in her life, her mother, grandmother, great grandmother, aunts and cousins, suffered from or died of breast cancer.

Avner took control of her own destiny after a blood test revealed she had a genetic predisposition to the disease. She didn't want to live in fear. She wanted to meet her future husband and say, "we got this out of the way so our family won't go through what I did growing up."

With her new nonprofit organization, Avner is helping raise money and awareness for the disease she knows she won't suffer from but other women will. The mantra is "Be Brilliant. Be Bold. Be Bright Pink." They are things Avner has mastered and with this community, she tries to empower other women to also look their own destiny and the disease straight in the eye.

Update: Thank you all for such an amazing response to this post! Comments are no longer being accepted. Be sure to check out the CNN.com Live Video interview
Monday, September 17, 2007
Ben Goldhirsh
Whoever said, "what's in a name?" didn't meet Ben Goldhirsh. I guess we'll never know much about those who spew what's now a cliché, but Goldhirsh's name is good to know.

So is the name of Goldhirsh's magazine, appropriately titled GOOD. The magazine is just that -- stories about culturally-conscious young people and their take on energy, politics and business. The subscription fees all go one of 12 approved charities such as UNICEF.

And, there's a lot to the name of his film company. Reason Pictures makes films with, you guessed it, a reason -- socially relevant stories sans the sex, gore and drugs that often hide a deeper message.

Endowed with a ginormous inheritance from his father, Bernie Goldhirsh, who started and sold Inc. magazine, the 26-year-old Goldhirsh is making his own name, while upholding the good that was already synonymous with the one he had.

Update: Watch the CNN.com Live Video interview
Tuesday, September 11, 2007
Samantha Larson
She's on top of the world. Samantha Larson has climbed all of the Seven Summits, the highest mountain on each of the continents. Most recently, the 18-year-old tackled Mount Everest, making her possibly the youngest person to climb all seven of the world's highest points, including Europe's Mount Elbrus, North America's Mount McKinley and Australia's Mount Kosciuszko.

Larson started her climbing career with a 19,000-foot hike up Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. At 12, it seemed daunting to her, but not as treacherous as the summits to come. At 13, Larson climbed Mount Aconcagua in Argentina with her dad, as she always does. A feat came even before reaching the top -- 14 is the minimum age for the climb, so she needed special permission.

Larson worked toward the 75-day, $50,000 quest to the top of Everest for six years. Now, she is going to conquer the academic world. Larson deferred her admission to Stanford University for a year to train for the climb, but we don't think they minded.


Update: Watch the CNN.com Live Video interview
Monday, September 3, 2007
Clayton Lillard
When Clayton Lillard was in the fifth grade, he saw a pair of bikes on top of a trash heap. Lillard had a bike, but he knew there were other kids in his San Antonio, Texas, community who didn't. So, instead of leaving them there, he fixed them up with the help of other neighborhood kids.

That year, Lillard teamed up with the local church's prison fellowship representative and radio station to repair 100 bikes and give them to kids whose parents were incarcerated at Christmas. The movement peddled so fast that it needed a name: Clayton's Backyard Crew. Over the last eight years, the crew has given out more than 900 bikes.

Lillard, now 18, has seen his impact with the community he established with the friends who help him work on the bikes and families who received them. "A mom with eight kids couldn't stop crying because she couldn't afford presents, much less a bike, and the kids were laughing and shouting with joy," Lillard says. That joy keeps Lillard going every year as the captain of his crew.

Update: Watch the CNN.com Live Video interview
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Young People Who Rock is a weekly interview series focused on people under 30 -- from CEOs to entertainers to athletes to community and political leaders -- who are doing remarkable things. CNN Anchor Nicole Lapin introduces them here, then interviews them Fridays on CNN.com Live. Log on in the 3 p.m. ET hour to catch the interviews.
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