THIS WEEK'S CNN HERO 

CNN Hero Blake Rockwell brings children battling serious illness to college athletic events for a V.I.P. experience through his non-profit Special Spectators.

Sick kids are VIPs at football games

Volunteering at a children's hospital, Blake Rockwell realized many patients are huge sports fans. He decided to create an unforgettable game-day experience for ill kids and their families.
CNN Hero Blake Rockwell (right) brings children battling serious illness and their families to college athletic events for a VIP experience through his non-profit Special Spectators. Here a family attend a University of Oklahoma Sooners football game.

CNN Hero Blake Rockwell

Blake Rockwell's nonprofit has given thousands of seriously ill children all-access, VIP experiences at college sporting events around the country.
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CNN Hero Mona Patel

After her own struggles as an amputee, Mona Patel started a nonprofit in San Antonio that has provided support and resources for more than 1,100 amputees.

CNN Hero Stan Hays

Stan Hays' nonprofit, Operation BBQ Relief, has responded to dozens of disasters, providing 1.7 million hot meals to survivors and first responders.

Service to country

Responding to Hurricane Harvey in Houston, CNN Hero Stan Hays and his team of volunteers share how Operation BBQ Relief comes together to help.
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CNN Hero Aaron Valencia

Aaron Valencia's nonprofit, Lost Angels Children's Project, teaches low-income, foster and at-risk youth in California how to restore classic cars.
CNN Hero Aaron Valencia's Lost Angels Children's Project provides an after-school program with a focus on classic car restoration for low-income, foster and at-risk youth.

The kids inspired him

One family shares how they found a positive outlet and new look on life at CNN Hero Aaron Valencia's custom car garage in Lancaster, CA.
CNN Hero Rosie Mashale started a free daycare center and later an orphanage in her home for children in need in Cape Town, South Africa.

'Mama Rosie' cares for Cape Town's AIDS orphans

Rosie Mashale began taking in children she saw scavenging in a dump near her home, eventually starting a free daycare. The former schoolteacher now runs an orphanage that houses abandoned and ill children.
CNN Hero Rosie Mashale

CNN Hero Rosie Mashale

In Cape Town, South Africa's largest township, Rosie Mashale and her group care for orphaned, abandoned and sick children -- many who lost parents to AIDS.
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Child-headed households

CNN Hero Rosie Mashale visits elder orphans in her Cape Town, South Africa, community who benefit from her organization's support and love.
CNN Hero Andrew Manzi runs Warrior Surf, an organization that encourages military veterans to surf therapeutically and seek counseling post combat.

Vets combat trauma with surfing

Iraq war veteran Andrew Manzi knows the healing power of surfing. His Warrior Surf organization provides free lessons for vets, complete with therapy sessions on the beach.
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CNN Hero Andrew Manzi

Iraq War veteran Andrew Manzi started Warrior Surf, a nonprofit that provides free surf camps and therapy on the beach for veterans and their families.
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Warrior Surf: "My family is back."

A veteran in Folly Beach, South Carolina, shares how he has found healing on the ocean waves, with the help of CNN Hero Andrew Manzi and his nonprofit.
CNN Hero Michele Allen runs Monkey's House, a hospice for elderly and dying dogs, on her six-acre New Jersey farm.

Family farm is heaven on earth for dying dogs

Michele Allen and her nonprofit, Monkey's House, provide a loving place for terminally-ill shelter dogs to live their final days with good food, plenty of exercise and companionship.
CNN Hero Michele Allen runs Monkey's House, a hospice for elderly and dying dogs, on her six-acre New Jersey farm.

CNN Hero Michele Allen

Michele Allen has had many dogs over the years, but a 13-pound shelter dog with heart problems and bad teeth changed her life. Monkey's death inspired her to start a dog hospice.
At Monkey's House animal hospice, elderly and dying dogs get good food, exercise health care and companionship.

The story behind Monkey's House

Monkey, the canine inspiration for a nonprofit dog hospice, didn't like humans much but would have loved this farm full of dogs.
CNN Hero Tony Hillery and his staff at Harlem Grown teach children how to grow food from seed to harvest and cook healthy meals using the fruits of their labor.

Sowing seeds of hope in Harlem's children

Harlem Grown has 10 urban farms where Tony Hillery and his staff teach children how to grow food from seed to harvest and cook healthy meals using the fruits of their labor.
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CNN Hero Tony Hillery

Tony Hillery started Harlem Grown, a nonprofit that teaches low-income children about urban farming -- and much more -- in New York City.
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Growing in Harlem

On an urban farm in New York City, 23-year-old Edgar turned his life around with the help of CNN Hero Tony Hillery and his nonprofit, Harlem Grown.
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CNN Hero Mariuma Ben Yosef

Over 32 years, Mariuma Ben Yosef's organization, the Shanti House, has helped 46,000 vulnerable youth find shelter, medical care and a place to belong.
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A cosmic family

The Shanti House provides the comforts of home to at-risk youth living on their own.

CNN Hero Siew Te Wong

Siew Te Wong, a wildlife biologist in Malaysia, has dedicated his life to protecting the sun bear, the world's smallest bear species.
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CNN Hero Jeanine Patten-Coble

Since 2011, Jeanine Patten-Coble's nonprofit has provided free weeklong, fun-filled vacations to nearly 600 families affected by breast cancer.
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Making sense of cancer

After attending the first retreat offered by CNN Hero Jeanine Patten-Coble's nonprofit, one breast cancer survivor's profound experience didn't end there.
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CNN Hero Harry Grammer

Growing up, Harry Grammer spent five years on juvenile probation. Today, his group helps hundreds of at-risk youth in Los Angeles transform their lives.
CNN Hero Harry Grammer (left) works with young people in Los Angeles who might otherwise slip through the cracks to find their potential and make sure they graduate high school.

CNN Hero Harry Grammer: Tell them

The at-risk youth helped by CNN Hero Harry Grammer have a story to tell. Watch how they turn their words into song at his program's recording studio in Los Angeles.
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'Welcome to Bitty & Beau's!'

Meet Matt and Jessie: two young people with disabilities who share what their employment at CNN Hero Amy Wright's coffee shop means to them.
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CNN Hero Jennifer Cox

Since 2015, Jennifer Cox's nonprofit has brought health and fitness programs to more than 1,000 children living in Baltimore-area homeless shelters.
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Empowering for life

CNN Hero Jennifer Cox shares the obstacles facing children who live in Baltimore-area homeless shelters and how her program helps build their confidence.
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CNN Hero Khali Sweeney

Since 2007, Khali Sweeney and his boxing program have provided mentorship, tutoring and meals to about 400 children from Detroit's toughest neighborhoods.
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Don't box me in

A young man growing up in Detroit shares how a boxing program started by CNN Hero Khali Sweeney is helping to save his life.
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CNN Hero Doniece Sandoval

Since 2014, Doniece Sandoval's nonprofit has provided showers to more than 4,000 homeless individuals in San Francisco through its mobile hygiene centers.
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One step at a time

Clients of CNN Hero Doniece Sandoval's mobile showers share how her nonprofit's services help their daily lives in San Francisco.
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CNN Hero Bob Adams

Bob Adams is a Vietnam War medic who co-founded the Midwest Shelter for Homeless Veterans, a nonprofit that helps nearly 400 veterans a year.
CNN Hero Samir Lakhani, wearing glasses, poses with staff at the Eco-Soap Bank--an organization he founded to provide soap and hygiene education to Cambodians in need.

How hotel soap can save lives

Samir Lakhani was a college student volunteering in Cambodia when inspiration struck: Rural villagers didn't have access to soap--he knew just where to find it.

CNN Heroes: Samir Lakhani

Samir Lakhani's nonprofit, Eco-Soap Bank, recycles discarded bars of soap from hotels in Cambodia and distributes them to people in need.

From hotel soap to Eco-Soap

CNN Hero Samir Lakhani shares how his group is using soap in Cambodia to change lives, boost the economy and help the environment.
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CNN Hero Linda Myers

For three decades, Linda Myers and her nonprofit have brought life-saving supplies to an estimated 3,000 elders in need on the Navajo Reservation.
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CNN Heroes: Adopt-A-Native-Elder

CNN Hero Linda Myers shows how her nonprofit helps Native American elders in remote areas of Arizona and Utah stay warm through the winter.
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CNN Hero Leslie Morissette

In memory of her son, Leslie Morissette and her nonprofit help connect sick children to their regular lives through free technology, including robots.
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CNN Heroes: What is a Philbot?

With the help of a robot from CNN Hero Leslie Morissette's nonprofit, one fourth grader stays connected to his school and friends while battling leukemia.

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2017 CNN Heroes