Carolina For the Kids makes sure no child in recovery gets left behind

Two students in black clothing perform on a stage in front of a crowd of a standing spectators. Red lights shine on the crowd while blue light shines from the stage.
Carolina for the Kids has held an annual dance marathon every year since 1999. For 12 hours, UNC students pledge to stay on their feet dancing with several performances and activities throughout the night to keep them excited and awake.

By Reagan Allen

Heather Murphy was in her home getting ready to go out for dinner when she heard a blood-curdling scream coming from the front yard. Murphy frantically ran toward the noise. What she saw horrified her.

Her 3-year-old son, Drew, was sucked under the riding lawn mower after running across the yard. The sharp blades cut into his skin, ripping the tissue off his back leg. The heat from the engine gave him third-degree burns. His heel bone was cut off, exposing the bone that was left. Heather called 911.


“The doctors had to shield me from seeing him like that.”

Her husband, Jamie, who was on top of the mower, jumped down, scooped Drew up, and ran to the car with Heather tailing behind.

The couple exchanged panicked words as Jamie set their son in the back seat. They decided Jamie would rush Drew to a nearby EMS station while Heather stayed home with their other two children.

Jamie sped off, leaving Heather with only the sound of her ragged breathing. She stood outside, shocked, then composed herself. She went to comfort her other children, a 2-year-old daughter and 5-year-old son who came outside after hearing the commotion.

In the kitchen, Heather found her husband’s phone, her only way to find out the well-being of her son. Fifteen minutes later, an ambulance and police officers arrived at the house.

The police asked questions while Heather tried to get any information about where Drew was. Eventually, she found out he was being taken to WakeMed Hospital in Raleigh.

Heather dropped her two kids off at their grandma’s. Then, her neighbor drove her to the hospital because she was in “no shape to drive.”

Heather didn’t see Drew for several hours until they were reunited at WakeMed. “He’s in all kinds of agony and pain and as a mom I just wanted him to be better,” Heather said.

With her son writhing in pain in the other room, doctors told Heather they were unequipped to handle his injuries —there was nothing they could do. Drew would have to wait for a bed at UNC Hospitals where they could hopefully save his leg.

“For a while I couldn’t handle it; the doctors had to shield me from seeing him like that,” she said.

Drew arrived in Chapel Hill around 10:30 p.m., roughly four and a half hours after the accident occurred. He was immediately taken in for surgery. One of the many fears Heather faced that night was the possibility that her son’s leg would be amputated.

However, the doctor refused to amputate without doing everything possible to save Drew’s leg. The two entered what should have been an hour and a half surgery. However, four hours later the leg was saved, and Drew was out of surgery.

Those four hours were torture for Heather and Jamie. They were stuck in limbo, waiting and praying for their son. When they found out Drew was going to be okay with both legs intact, the two were grateful. Shakily, Heather exhaled a sigh of relief.

Long recovery

Drew spent two weeks at the UNC Burn Clinic and another six weeks in the Children’s Hospitals. The family’s time there was difficult.

Drew was still in immense pain and getting better was a gradual process. On top of Drew’s recovery, Heather had two other children to take care of. Her life became the trips from her home to the hospital, going back and forth constantly. 

While everyone was thankful for Drew’s recovery, finding moments of joy was hard. Like most 3-year-olds, Drew needed to be constantly entertained. He couldn’t walk much, so keeping his mind occupied was exhausting.

The families first interaction with Carolina for the Kids (CFTK) was at a hospital prom they put on in the playroom.

Drew laughed, sang and ate with the other children. The weight of stress was lifted off Heather while she watched her son have fun for the first time in weeks.

Sarah Prosser, CFTK’s hospital and family relations chair, has been with the organization for the last two years. She’s interacted with patients at UNC Children’s and with some of the patients at pediatric clinics around Chapel Hill.

“When you see the smiles on kids’ faces or get thanked by a family member or staff member at the hospital it reaffirms your purpose and why you’re doing it,” Prosser said. “That’s pretty fulfilling.” 

During those two months at the hospital, CFTK provided meals, playdates and arts and crafts to those in the Children’s Hospital, including Drew.

After the hospital’s prom, a member reached out and asked Drew if he wanted to be a kid co-captain. He said yes and was paired with a UNC student in CFTK whom he is still in touch with today.

The co-captain program provides children in the hospital with a friend to talk to for support. Together, Drew and his co-captain played games, talked and did learning exercises. Every year since he has been a co-captain with CFTK.

Drew has been eagerly involved in anything CFTK related. The family has been to banquets, fun runs and the end of year dance marathon fundraiser almost every year since then. Heather and Drew together have spoken at marathons to share his story and how CFTK impacted them.

“We wanted to give back and make sure that the kids know how much they’re appreciated,” Heather said.

Over the last eight years, Drew has been in and out of the hospital. The two following years after the accident he had a couple outpatient surgeries on his legs.

In November 2020, Drew got an infection in his bone and ended up back in the hospital for a week and a half. Then in May of 2021, he had major surgery to reconstruct his heel.

Throughout Drew’s visits to the hospital CFTK has been there offering help, sending cards and bringing in baskets of goodies to cheer him up. His last surgery took place at a different hospital, but CFTK still reached out and asked what they could do.

Heather said it’s been a long and hard process to get him to a full recovery (or close to it) but the help of family and CFTK has made it easier.

Drew and Heather are especially looking forward to their beloved dance marathon. It’s an opportunity for them to laugh, dance, eat and forget their worries for the night.

Edited by Nathan Wellish and Will Christensen

How Camille Claudel shaped thousands of sculptors, including her own family


A dark bronze sculpture of a nude woman falling forward with outstretched arms sits in front of a white backdrop.
One 1905 cast of Camille Claudel’s “L’Implorante” is housed at the Turner Carroll Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The cast used to sit in the home Claudel’s descendant and fellow sculptor, Calyxte Campe. (Photo courtesy of the Turner Carroll Gallery)

By Ira Wilder

Calyxte Campe began his artistic career as a painter, learning what he called “the old techniques” in the Charles H. Cecil Studios in Florence, Italy. He had been painting at the studio for three or four years when his instructor learned of his famous ancestor, a sculptor rather than a painter. 

“He said, ‘Well, if you don’t want to sculpt, then leave my studio now,” Calyxte said. 

Now, Campe is following in the footsteps of his great-great aunt, Camille Claudel. 

He started sculpting under the Studio’s roof immediately after his instructor’s ultimatum, though the school had no sculpture department.

The first time he touched wet clay, he was hooked immediately, drawn to the freedom that the material’s malleability offered. He soon opened the Studio’s sculpture department and for several years taught the art form that his ancestor was known for. 

Though he never met Claudel, her work surrounded him his entire life. As a young boy, Calyxte’s hands danced across the patina of her original sculptures, pieces now guarded by museum security guards around the world. Her artistic presence influenced him in ways he still doesn’t understand. Though he inherited her natural talent, he is not chasing her legacy nor is he trying to outdo her. 

“If I had her name, that would be really a lot to carry,” Calyxte said. “But not having that, I think, is quite a blessing.” 

Nearly a hundred years ago, Claudel sculpted her works in a studio near the Campe family’s reclusive chateau, nestled in the hills of France. Two of her works remained in the chateau until 2020, sheltered by direct lineage and untouched by the international art market.  

Now, the two sculptures wait in the Turner Carroll Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico, for their debut at the Art Institute of Chicago in October 2023 and the Getty Museum in February 2024. The sculptures’ upcoming sale is just one chapter of the Campe family’s illustrious heritage, one molded by the hands of its artist ancestor.

Claudel destroyed most of her work, but now, her great-nephews, Calyxte and his brother Sylvester, are picking up the pieces, helping to rebuild her legacy while forging their own creative journeys. 

Claudel was the pupil-turned-lover of legendary sculptor Auguste Rodin, a name that has overshadowed her legacy. 

Claudel’s story was once a quiet French legend, but through media representations and art exhibitions over the past 50 years, her story has become a global anthem for feminist art historians. 

Upon recognizing her talent, Claudel’s family moved to Paris in 1881, eager for her to learn at the private Acade’mie Colarossi, as the renowned Acade’mie des Beaux-Arts did not accept women at the time. 

Rodin and Claudel met when she was a 19-year-old student and he a 43-year-old artist. As a sculptor, Rodin’s work was more widely known, but most do not know Claudel’s hands sculpted the finer extremities on many of Rodin’s pieces — including his tour de force “The Gates of Hell.” 

“In that time, you must remember, it’s the worst time for a woman to be a sculptor, an artist, and it was all so man-orientated,” Campe said. 

Early in the 20th century, French artists made their names and their money from public commissions, of which Rodin had many while Claudel had none. Once, Claudel was a finalist for one of these commissions, and Rodin was on the approval committee. He voted against her because he believed her work depicted him in an embarrassing light. 

Rodin was in a long-term relationship with another woman, Rose Beuret. Despite Beuret, Claudel and Rodin signed a contract that the two of them would marry. Once it became clear to Claudel that Rodin had no plans to leave Beuret, she grew angry, drank often, and shattered wine bottles on her walls. 

“This was regarded as insanity. Nowadays, I would regard it as female power,” art dealer Tonya Turner Carroll said.

Claudel lived in a world of misogynistic and religious absolutism. Her anger was seen as female hysteria and treated as such. She spent her last thirty years, rarely visited, in an asylum, where she died in 1943. Her bones now rest in the asylum’s mass grave.

Calyxte’s brother Sylvester took another creative path: filmmaking. 

He worked with filmmaker Murat Eyuboglu and writer William deBuys on the 2016 eco-documentary “The Colorado,” a film shown in museums across the country. Because of its success, the pair teamed up again for an upcoming documentary on the Amazon River, whose surrounding forests endure devastating wildfires almost annually. 

When the project ran out of funding, though, Sylvester proposed a solution that crossed borders and brokering conventions. 

He offered the team some stake in Claudel’s “L’Implorante” and “Chienne Rongeant Son Os,” the two sculptures that the Campe brothers cherished in their home as children. 

To sell them, the team needed an art dealer. deBuys knew one: Tonya Turner Carroll, a friend with a mutual alma mater, UNC-Chapel Hill. 

Turner Carroll and her husband opened the Turner Carroll Gallery in 1991. The Gallery primarily highlights artists from marginalized communities. Tonya, as a historian, specializes in female artists and considers herself a scholar on Claudel. 

Now, the couple, with the trust of Claudel’s descendants, await their largest sale yet with the  “L’Implorante.”

The “L’Implorante,” a 1905 bronze cast, is one that many consider to be Claudel’s greatest work. The Gallery expects the sculpture to go for at least $4 million if purchased before its October debut and at least $6.5 million later.

Five casts were commissioned by Claudel’s art dealer, Eugène Blot. One was bought by Claudel’s brother, Paul, and remained in the family’s homestead until 2020, when it was moved to the Turner Carroll Gallery. The other four now rest in museums and private collections across the world. 

At the Campe family’s invitation, Turner Carroll and her husband, Michael, flew to France to see the sculptures for the first time. She knew it was a milestone, personally and professionally. 

“I felt like I was in the presence of the most pivotal work of art history,” she said. “It was the masterwork of the greatest woman sculptor up to that time.”  

When the Carrolls walked through the Campe house for the first time, Tonya almost could not tell the difference between Claudel and her great-great nephew’s work. 

“It was almost like he had absorbed her artistic touch by growing up with her work and touching it, even though he never met her in person,” she said.

The Carrolls completely immersed themselves into Claudel’s story, visiting the asylum she died in, closely befriending her descendants and ensuring their actions were beneficial to her legacy. 

It took the couple a year to get the sculptures out of the country legally. Now, it’s the only “L’Implorante” cast of its size in the United States; a smaller one is held at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. 

Turner Carroll’s “L’Implorante” is accompanied by a bronze titled “Chienne Rongeant Son Os” (Dog Gnawing Her Bone). The “Chienne” was cast from an original Claudel mold in 2002 by Calyxte Campe himself. He is Claudel’s sole remaining descendant with sculpting experience.

The “Chienne” mold that Calyxte grew up around and worked with is one of few remaining Claudel molds that she did not destroy. 

Today, less than a hundred of Claudel’s works remain. As Claudel broke away from Rodin to escape his shadow and his snare, she destroyed most of her own works out of spite. 

“Camille was suffocated by societal expectations for women, but her craft was where she was free — and then that was stolen from her,” Emily Smither said. Smither has been an intern at the Gallery for several months, working closely on the distribution and advertising of Claudel’s pieces. 

For aspiring art historians like Smither, Claudel’s story is an important one, reflective of blooming conversations in the art world about cultural value in relation to the artist. 

“How do we reconcile with a great artist like Rodin but admit the wrongdoings? What about the thousands of other women who don’t have as much evidence of abuse?” she said.

Claudel’s story is also a crucial piece to understanding the art world as a whole. 

“It’s pivotal, in terms of understanding how the art world works, how the role of women in the arts works, how the economics of the art world works,” Michael Carroll said. 

Curators from the Art Institute of Chicago and the Getty Museum traveled together to Santa Fe to see the L’Implorante and decided it would be the centerpiece of an upcoming dual exhibition: “Camille Claudel: Revolt against Nature.” The exhibition’s title is a double entendré on the piece’s hopeful assistance to the Amazon and Claudel’s contemporary rebellion against the constraints of womanhood. 

Calyxte said he hopes the pieces will soon have a permanent home in a public museum, where Claudel’s work can be admired for its exquisite emotion and her story can be lauded among other artists of her time.

The filmmaking team knows that their documentary is unlikely to save the Amazon, but the film and the sculptures represent a new type of exchange in the art world — a business model centered around social justice, one that Smither is hopeful will be more common in years to come. 

“Sometimes art can make people think, especially to see about issues in ways they never would have otherwise. And, sometimes art can only bear witness to things that are happening out in the world. But either way, its role is vital,” deBuys said. 

For Tonya Turner Carroll, working with Claudel’s pieces is not just another day on the job — it’s part of an ongoing Claudel renaissance, a celebration of an artist who defied the expectations of her gender and her time. 

Edited by Will Christensen and Nathan Wellish

UNC first-year’s TikToks teach financial literacy in an alternative style

A female college student with long blonde hair wearing a black and red outfit with silver chains poses for a photo in the Pit at UNC-Chapel Hill
Mary Eva Esposito teaches financial literacy through her TikToks.

By Reagan Allen 

When you think of a businessperson , the words “goth” or “emo” probably don’t cross your mind. However, Mary Eva Esposito says those terms aren’t mutually exclusive.

In 2021, like most teenagers, Esposito downloaded TikTok. Instead of posting videos doing dances, funny voice-overs or makeup tutorials, she started posting financial literacy lessons. Her aim? To help younger kids learn about financial independence. 

Esposito wears black eyeliner, chained necklaces and eccentric fashion, all of which define her personal style. Black clothing and a beanie are her top picks when it comes to apparel. The contrast between her bleach-blond hair and black lipstick is striking. 

She wants to break the stereotype for what an intelligent, successful woman should wear. Her bold style pushes boundaries and inspires others. 

“The way I look should not validate or invalidate the merit of what I have to say,” Esposito  said. “By dressing the way I do, I can resonate with people who also share the same style and sense of individuality, and so they will feel more comfortable learning from me than they would from say, a man.”

Whether she’s getting lunch with friends, in class, speaking at a business panel or making TikToks, her style doesn’t change. The UNC first-year is unapologetic when it comes to how she chooses to present herself. 

Teaching with TikTok

Topics she discusses in her videos include the importance of building credit, how to start investing and futures trading. In her TikToks, Esposito sits up straight, makes eye contact with the camera and talks with her hands. She explains complex terms and ideas in a way the average person can understand. 

 The more popular videos on her @moneywithmary TikTok account have over 1 million views. One is titled “How to Afford a Car That Isn’t (poop emoji),” an issue most young people struggle with. 

Not all her videos are tutorials. Esposito has gone around UNC’s campus, asking students questions like “How much money is in your bank account?” and “What is your biggest worry as a college student?” Afterwards, she offers financial advice to them and to others watching her videos. 

Her TikToks aim to lessen the gap left by the education system. Esposito believes students should be taught more about finance and economics  in school instead of topics most will never need to know in life, like calculus. 

“The really big issue and a question I always ask is, ‘How are high school students expected to matriculate into the real world if they are not equipped with these necessary skills?’” she said.  

Her TikToks helped her to win the 2022 BMTX Annual Financial Empowerment Scholarship. In her application, her videos, alongside various side hustles, played a huge role in helping her be chosen out of over 1,000 other applicants.

Esposito believes everyone should be taught about personal finance and how to manage money.

 “Money is power,” she said. “So, when you neglect to teach people money, you are taking away their power.”

Odell Escorcia-Puente has been dating Esposito for the past year. They spend time together hiking, skateboarding and foraging for mushrooms. Both have edgy, alternative fashion styles. 

Escorcia-Puente said Esposito introduced him to finance, teaching him things like how to make a brokerage account, wisely choose stocks and invest money. She didn’t just help Escorcia-Puente, she helped his family as well, creating a PowerPoint for them explaining the same concepts.

“I feel like using investing as a tool and being taught how to use that tool would be a good benefit for everybody,” Escorcia-Puente said. 

From Hobby to Career

 Her TikTok account is not only a passion, but a source of revenue. As a content creator, she gets paid by brands to promote products on her account, but she doesn’t stop there. Esposito sells crochet animals on her Instagram account, @shoppurplepear

 She learned to crochet in ninth grade after being hospitalized for an eating disorder. Having a hobby helped her during her recovery. Suddenly, an influx of people wanted to buy crochet plushies and Esposito needed to learn how to handle the money she was making.

 “In disorder, I discovered my love for art. Art discovered my love for entrepreneurship and discovered my love for finance,” she said. 

Four years later, Esposito committed to UNC and was accepted into the Kenan-Flagler Business School with a surplus of scholarships. 

Both her parents and her older sister attended Harvard University. In her high-achieving family, Esposito always felt overlooked and in her sister’s shadow. Determined to make her own path, Esposito didn’t go down the Harvard route. 

 “Financial literacy is a way for me to differentiate myself. A creative, expressive outlet that’s unique to me,” she said.

 She attributes her success to her upbringing, saying her attitude was cultivated in her when she was young.  

“The saying in my household was that extra credit is never an option,” said Esposito.

She has received nothing but support from her family in her financial endeavors. 

At UNC, she is an executive member of Smart Woman Securities at the Business School, which hosts seminars for women interested in learning about investing. 

 Amy Bugno is one of Esposito’s professors in the Business School. She says Esposito is a great example of what students can accomplish when they are intentional and dedicated to their career goals, and that it’s admirable to teach others about a topic where many are undereducated, including professionals. 

 “She makes it relatable and easy for her own generation to understand,” she said. . 

Despite her passion for financial literacy, educational success, ambitious family and multiple revenue sources, Esposito believes being high-achieving isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Relaxing  and utilizing leisure time is something she struggles with constantly. 

“I think that American hustle culture is a disease and I am sick. I have somehow convinced myself that productivity equals worth,” she said.

 She says that having balance is essential for a healthy, happy life. She isn’t willing to give up on her passions or businesses, but plans to balance using her time to rest and complete goals. 

For Esposito, a successful life is living in Asheville as an entrepreneur, financially independent and turning her home into a rescue sanctuary for senior Chihuahuas.

Edited by Will Christensen, Nathan Wellish and Claire Burch