Cameron Neely, left, Bill McAnany and Kara Svarny won the top three prizes in Brookfield Optimist Club's essay contest.

Cameron Neely, left, Bill McAnany and Kara Svarny won the top three prizes in Brookfield Optimist Club’s essay contest.

Hannah Svarny spent her life in and out of doctor’s offices and hospitals for treatment of a severe heart condition that included one heart transplant.

When Hannah died in 2015 at age 16, it sent her sister, Kara, who was 10 at the time, into depression.

But, now, ready to graduate from high school, Kara sees the world through her sister’s eyes.

“She went through so much in her life with a bright smile on her face; therefore, bringing out the optimism in me,” Kara said in an essay that won first place in the Brookfield Optimist Club Essay Contest.

“I always see the bright side, now, just like she used to do,” Kara said.

Kara called Hannah “the strongest person I have ever met. Even after her death, she has a huge impact on the way I see the world.” 

“My sister was so strong, and I knew I could be strong like her,” Kara said. “I had to be strong like her. I now have an optimistic view on life because my sister had that view to the very end.”

The essay contest topic was, “Who is an everyday hero that brings out the optimism in you?”

Second-place winner Cameron Neely wrote about his grandmother, who brings a “warm and comforting presence to my life.”

“Growing up, she would tell me stories of her own struggles and how she overcame them, reminding me that I also have the strength of persevering,” Cameron wrote in his essay.

Bill McAnany, the third-place winner wrote about a neighbor who has inspired him to be more positive, and to commit small acts of kindness.

“He is an icon of happiness, and his mere presence has the power to turn a bad day into a good one,” Bill wrote.

The winners read their essays at the club’s March 16 meeting. Club member James Hoffman III handed out medals and certificates to the winners and, to Kara, a $100 check. He thanked Brookfield High School English teacher Jen Laury, who coordinates the contest at the school.

Brookfield Optimist Club next meets 5:30 p.m. April 20 at Brookfield schools, 614 Bedford Road, Brookfield. The meeting will open with a tour of the school building. The tour and meeting are open to the public.