Former Clinton native Melanie Mahanna has made Central New York proud on Fox's reality show "American Grit." While on the show, she's already coming home a winner after a powerful connection was made and Grit Cares was formed.

“American Grit” is a competition show starring professional wrestler John Cena that airs on Fox. Sixteen of the country’s toughest men and women are competing for up to a million dollars of prize money. The show is truly the ultimate test of strength, grit, the human spirit and most importantly, teamwork. Class of 2005 Clinton native Melanie Mahanna is on that quest. While on that quest, she has already created lifelong bonds due to the show.

Melanie met 16 year-old Toraya Garvin last November after a competition required her to shave her head. She took the challenge, and wanted her hair donated to charity. While dropping off her hair to donate to Wigs for Kids, Melanie met Toraya. Melanie also had the opportunity to meet Toraya's parents, John and Nicole Garvin who shared about Toraya's journey with leukemia.  Sadly, Toraya Garvin passed away on November 29th, 2016. Out of this sad moment, Grit Cares was born.

Grit Cares is out to raise funds to support families with children with cancer. A goal of $10,000 has been set. At the time of this story, the group has already raised over $5,000. You can donate and learn more about Grit Cares.

Melanie is home to celebrate Boilermaker weekend with family and friends. Be sure to cheer her on along the course, and hopefully provide plenty of Roma's tomato pie along the way. Also catch Melanie Sunday nights on Fox at 9PM.


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