Sarah Williams of Pleasanton carried an Olympic torch down the streets of London early Monday morning -- the teen was chosen to be one of the 8,000 Olympic torchbearers as an honor for her work with foster children.
Before the 19-year-old Williams headed off to Europe, she spoke with NBC Bay Area, describing how "honored and grateful" she was to have been chosen.
Williams was chosen in a Coca Cola contest to be a torch bearer for her volunteer work at "Foster a Dream" in Martinez. When she was a freshman in high school, Williams read a story about a foster child who was denied a warm blanket, and she became determined to have all 800 students at her school make a fleece blanket for foster children by Christmas, including teaching the football team how to make the blankets, according to London2012.com.
She began fundraising, turning to companies for help. Her project has now touched the lives of 10,000 foster children and countless volunteers. She's raised more than $80,000 and introduced the project in six states. Earlier this summer, the Scripps College student led 20,000 Girl Scouts from all over the world in making blankets so they can introduce the project back home, according to her nomination letter.
Williams was one of 22 American torch bearers named Tuesday by Coca Cola, people chosen for having made a difference in the world. Ten of those 22 were also teens.
She told NBC Bay Area that she hoped her 15 minutes of fame would draw attention to the "forgotten children."