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2 Gwinnett kids picked for hospital Holiday Card program

Dilan Lara, age 16

Dilan Lara, age 16

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Mikaela Beck, age 13

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Three Wisemen - Mikaela Beck, age 13

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Snowman - Dilan Lara, age 16

ATLANTA -- Two young Gwinnett artisans are featured this year in the time-honored tradition that is the Children's Healthcare of Atlanta Holiday Card Program, an initiative that's raised more than $2 million for sick and injured children in Georgia the last two decades.

Mikaela Beck, a 13-year-old Shiloh Middle School student, happened into the card program by chance while receiving chemotherapy treatment at the hospital. Sales from her take on the Three Wisemen will benefit the Aflac Cancer Center and Blood Disorders Service at the hospital.

"The volunteers came by the room and asked if she wanted to do a holiday card," said mom, Rhonda Beck. "I'm very proud of her. She's very independent, creative, and outgoing ... She'll do things to give back and help any way she can."

A modest Mikaela said she's had no formal art training, outside of "what I learned at school and just doodling from time to time." Her free time mainly consists of hanging out with friends and going to the movies, she said.

"I was in the hospital and wanted to do something that meant a great deal to me and reach other people," she said.

Another young artist, Lilburn resident Dilan Lara, 16, is currently a patient awaiting a kidney transplant. Proceeds from his black-and-white, minimalistic snowman card will go to Transplant Services at Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, said Lindsay Graham, hospital spokeswoman.

As one of the country's largest clinical care providers for children, the hospital network counts more than 1,280 kids in its hospitals during the holidays. All proceeds from the 2011 Holiday Card program will benefit multiple Children's service lines, Graham said.