(CNN) - War widows, "motel kids" and the working poor are among the many people who have been helped by this year's top 10 CNN Heroes.
The top 10 - remarkable everyday people changing the world - were revealed Thursday by CNN's Anderson Cooper. All were nominated by CNN viewers inspired by their hard work and commitment.
Each of the top 10 will receive a $50,000 grant and be honored at "CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute," a globally broadcast event that airs December 11 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
One of the top 10 will be voted CNN Hero of the Year by the public and receive an additional $250,000.
The live tribute show, hosted by Cooper at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, will culminate in the announcement of the CNN Hero of the Year.
Through December 7, people can vote for their favorite Hero at CNNHeroes.com. They can also vote from mobile devices.
This is the fifth year CNN has conducted its annual search for CNN Heroes. In those five years, the campaign has profiled more than 160 people on CNN and CNN.com. And there have been roughly 40,000 nominations received from more than 100 countries.
Click here to see the top 10 Heroes of 2011.
New York (CNN) - When Gina Keatley first moved to New York to attend culinary school, she noticed that many of her neighbors were missing limbs.
"I lived on 99th Street across from some projects," she said. "I would walk to the train and think, 'Why are there so many amputees?'"
Keatley found out that many of them had to have amputations because of complications from diabetes. Diabetes can reduce blood flow to extremities and cause nerve damage, and sometimes amputations are necessary if serious infection sets in and there is severe damage to the tissue and bone.
The neighborhood where Keatley lived, East Harlem, has the highest diabetes rate in Manhattan, according to city health officials. It also has the highest obesity rate: One-third of adult residents are obese or overweight.
"It's so shocking to me to see people who are poor and unhealthy and literally dying in the street," said Keatley, an award-winning chef and nutritionist.
Read more about Gina's story here.
Santa Paula, California (CNN) - When disaster strikes and people are buried in rubble, there's often no better search tool than a dog's nose.
It's a valuable asset that has already been utilized several times this year. Trained search dogs, along with their human handlers, have provided help in high-profile disasters such as the Japan earthquake in March and the Joplin, Missouri, tornado in May.
"After a disaster, there is a window of opportunity for finding live people," said Wilma Melville, founder of the National Disaster Search Dog Foundation. "The first eight hours are critical."
There are about 250 search-and-rescue teams, each made up of a dog and a handler, that are certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. But Melville says that's half as many as there should be.
Read more about Wilma here.
Port-au-Prince, Haiti (CNN) - Five years ago, Patrice Millet learned he was in the advanced stages of a rare bone cancer. A stem cell transplant was his only hope for survival.
The businessman from Haiti underwent the procedure in the United States. After nine months of treatment and recovery, his cancer was in remission. Millet returned home in May 2007 determined to start living the life he'd always wanted: helping children from Haiti's poorest slums have a brighter future.
"Every day you see so many kids in need - so many bad stories, tragic stories," said Millet, 49. "All my life, I wanted to do something good for my country, for the kids. (So) I said, 'This is the time. I have nothing to lose.' "
That summer, Millet sold his construction supply business and started a program called FONDAPS, which stands for Foundation Notre-Dame du Perpétuel Secours (Foundation of Our Lady of Perpetual Help). The program uses soccer to help children stay out of trouble and learn valuable life skills. Millet calls it "education by sport."
Read more about Patrice here.
Knoxville, Tennessee (CNN) - Helen Ashe experienced many hardships growing up in Abbeville, South Carolina, during the 1930s and '40s. Her family's first house had no lights or running water.
But even during tough times, she and her twin sister, Ellen, were taught to be selfless.
"My daddy taught us not to take the last piece of bread from the table; somebody may come by that's hungry," Ashe remembered.
Since 1986, Ashe has been leaving a whole lot more than bread on the table.
As the founder of the Love Kitchen in Knoxville, Tennessee, she has helped serve more than 1 million free meals to those in need.
Aided by her sister and a team of volunteers, Ashe serves those whom she calls the five Hs: the hungry, the homeless, the helpless, the hopeless and the homebound.
Read more about Helen here.
Bellevue, Washington (CNN) - Just a year before turning 40, Judy Haley was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer that required an immediate mastectomy.
The procedure and the treatments that followed left her fatigued, nauseated and in so much pain that she couldn't pick up her 1-year-old daughter or do simple household chores. She also struggled with depression because she needed constant child-care assistance.
"It's really hard to ask for help," Haley recalled. "You want to be competent and independent. ... And then, all of a sudden, you have to acknowledge the fact that you can't take care of your daughter all by yourself."
Haley and her husband were both full-time students, so there were also financial concerns. The couple cashed in their retirement to deal with the crush of medical bills.
"I was really bottoming out emotionally," Haley said.
That's when a friend recommended that she reach out to the Pink Daisy Project, a nonprofit that provides support to breast cancer patients under 45.
Since 2008, the Pink Daisy Project has helped more than 150 women - mostly in the form of house-cleaning assistance and gift cards for gas, groceries and restaurants. But according to Haley, it's so much more.
Read more about Haley here.
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