Brittany Hebert grew up in southern Louisiana, and helped run the family farm.
The family grew rice, caught crawfish, and raised lambs and pigs. She mowed grass when she was 8 years old on a riding mower.
“We were taught responsibility and work ethic at a very young age,” Hebert told The Epoch Times.
Hebert’s father was involved in a helicopter crash, and was severely injured. Her mother didn’t work, and without her father, Hebert and her brother picked up even more responsibility.
Life started to change when her mother entered Hebert in a beauty pageant.
When she was 14 years old, her mom entered her into the local beauty contest. She won, and was later crowned Miss Acadiana too.
The world began to open up to her.
A large part of her responsibilities as Miss Acadiana was community service both at home and in other states.
That’s when she encountered pediatric cancer patients at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. Meeting and interacting with these kids moved Hebert profoundly.
“For me at that moment I’ll never forget thinking ‘Why them? And it’s not fair, so we need to do something about it,” Hebert recalled.
Hebert and other pageant winners raised money for basketball goals for the playground, and VCRs for all 52 rooms at the Ronald McDonald House.
“That is the moment that truly God had showed me my vocation,” Hebert explained.
But she wouldn’t be able to answer her calling just yet.
Hebert’s parents got divorced while she was in high school. Her mother developed a drug abuse problem and her father fell into a depression as a result of his injuries and PTSD from the previous helicopter crash.
Her mother got out of rehabilitation, but the happy event was closely followed by another tragedy. The same week, her grandfather suffered a massive heart attack and underwent a quadruple bypass.
Hebert and her brother stayed at their mother’s for the night, and planned on picking up their grandfather the next morning.
Just when it looked like things were at their most difficult, her resilience was tested once more.
Hebert woke up in the middle of the night to find her mother’s house on fire. They were fortunately able to escape through a window.
Hebert was only 18 as she sat with her brother and mother, and watched their house burn.
“I remember like it was yesterday. I was in my underwear and a T-shirt, and it was freezing. We watched our house burn to the ground,” Hebert recalled.
Despite being confronted by one hurdle after another, Hebert was able to graduate from high school and go to college in Lafayette, Louisiana.
Hebert was working as a waitress to pay her way through college, but was about to take on another huge task.
In 2007, Billie Menard, who had been in charge of the pageants when Hebert was a teenager, reached out to her. She had remembered Hebert’s passion to help the hospital in Memphis.
Menard asked if she could help out with a fundraiser for St. Jude. She wanted Hebert to raise $10,000.
Hebert is an enterprising woman, and figured out a way to raise the money. Many of her customers at the restaurant she worked at were business owners, and she asked if they were interested in donating.
“They were writing me checks at the table,” Hebert remembered.
She also was able to get her coworkers to help her in her fundraising effort.
Hebert and her colleagues put on a sporting clay shoot event to raise money for St. Jude’s. They were only expected to raise $10,000. They raised $50,000.
“It was a very surreal moment,” Hebert recalled.
That event would evolve into Hebert’s passion: Sky High.
Sky High is a non-profit that raises funds for pediatric cancer patients through hosting events. The organization donates money to build laboratories and other facilities in an effort to help pediatric cancer patients, and ultimately find a cure.
A year later in 2008, Hebert hosted her second clay shoot fundraising event in Houston, Texas.
Hebert had planned on taking the LSAT to attend law school, but she started receiving a deluge of job offers from businesses that had participated in the first clay shooting event.
She received an offer that was too big to refuse, and it allowed her to continue with her passion.
With $400 in her pocket, Hebert packed up her entire apartment and moved to Houston, Texas, for her new job. She never looked back.
Since 2007, Hebert and Sky High have donated $8,370,516 to St. Jude’s and Texas Children’s Hospital, and Ronald McDonald House in Memphis.
She works as a corporate sales manager in oil and gas, and runs Sky High. Somehow, she’s able to balance both.
“My life is bananas the majority of the time, but there’s something in me that wouldn’t have it any other way.”