Shine Your Light!

Blog Post by Team Hallie member Kelly Causey

Cancer impacts so many of us – we may be the patient or the person who is helpless wondering, “How can I help my spouse/sibling/parent/friend, etc through this diagnosis?” After all, cancer is the reason that this foundation was created, Bethany & Kevin wanted a way to give back and support our cancer warriors as they fight and a way to remember their Hallie Hope.  
I officially joined HallieStrong in October of 2018 and shared with my network the exciting news. I would lay awake at night thinking about ways to get HallieStrong up and running in the Greater Cincinnati area. I had so many ideas but needed to figure out how to act on them. Shortly after announcing my new role with HallieStrong, a dear friend from grade school/high school reached out. She works at the grade school we both went to and she indicated she wanted to do something to help. She and I brainstormed on some ideas and we landed on a “Sock War”! Christie has such a heart of gold and I’m truly grateful for her. She put so much work into this! There are so many good people in this world, I’m really lucky to live in community of good. 
St. Mary School is a blue-ribbon school led by Matt Grosser and located in my hometown of Alexandria, KY. They are a school of 483 students, offering preschool – 8th grade. The 1st ever HallieStrong sock war kicked off during Catholic Schools week. The challenge was the class who raised the most socks would get a donut breakfast sponsored by HallieStrong. I honestly thought we’d get a pair per kid and raise about 500 pairs. I was in tears last Friday when Christie shared the total raised…2,418. That’s right, TWO THOUSAND FOUR HUNDRED AND EIGHTEEN PAIRS OF SOCKS!!!!!!!!!!! What an incredibly humbling and astonishing thing to read. Mrs. Kyle’s 1st grade class (1C) were the grand winners with 194 pairs alone! WOW! Just incredible! This morning I picked up 4 dozen donuts and arrived first thing at St. Mary. I walked up the front steps and into the school to see a bunch of bright smiling faces waiting for me outside the office. A representative from each class was waiting to take a HallieStrong picture with me and the giant stack of socks. I have several family members at St. Mary and was happy to see them join me for the picture as well, though I think my nephew Sam was really confused as to why I was at his school today ( ๐Ÿ™‚). I then walked the halls of my old stomping grounds down to Mrs. Kyle’s classroom. The 1st graders were so excited for donuts! We took a group picture and then it was time for them to get back to class. Thankfully, we recruited some 8th graders to help load up my car with boxes and boxes of socks! It was filled to the top.The theme for St. Mary this year is, “Let your light shine!” and I tell you what, their light is shining and will continue to shine throughout the area to MANY cancer warriors! These kids (and parents) should be very proud of their efforts. For metrics, I usually deliver about 30 pairs of socks to St. Elizabeth in Edgewood, KY every month or so. Their contribution allows me to deliver socks for almost 7 years to the hospital! The socks raised will be given to a few different places. My neighbor has been raising money to donate “chemo bags” to the kids at Cincinnati Children’s hospital. We will put a pair in each bag to help with Julie’s chemo bags. We will also take the children’s socks and donate them to an effort by one of our little warriors, Hallie. Her mom is raising pajamas for Children’s hospital in Akron, Ohio. We are matching a pair of socks for ever pair of jammies raised. The last count for them was over 300 pairs of jammies! Finally, I will start my mission of getting socks to more facilities in this area. Edgewood will still always get love from me but we want the love to extend!
I speak for all of us at HallieStrong when I say “THANK YOU!”. There is such an immense feeling of gratitude for each and every person who played a part in the first ever HallieStrong Sock War! I feel giddy with joy today witnessing the community at St. Mary. I’m proud to be an alumni of SMS and proud to be a member of HallieStrong. 
PS – One of St. Mary’s very own, Ms. Heather, is one of our newest warriors. Recently diagnosed with cervical cancer, she’s recovering this week from her surgery and is surrounding by the light of the SMS community. They fight for Ms. Heather! 

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