OLATHE, Kan. – A simple pair of shoes carried a powerful message Friday at Olathe South High School.
High school fundraising efforts raised more than $4,000 for student Aly Arenholz’s ‘Kick Cancer Like a Girlboss’ charity, which was started after she was diagnosed with cancer thyroid and some other conditions.
When a family friend gave her $450 for everything she wanted, Aly’s mother Jessica said it started a long journey.
“That’s when she said, ‘Well, I’m going to design myself a pair of Converse and I’m going to donate the rest,'” Jessica said.
The donation was intended to allow a few other children facing similar health issues to design their own shoes. She hoped the shoes would lift these children the same way they lifted her during doctor’s appointments and hospital visits.
“Just to give them a little light whenever everything is super stressful,” Aly said. “No child should have to go through this or anything like this.”
When news of Aly’s charity work during his own treatment reached teacher Nick Cook, he was devastated.
“I’m like, ‘What?’ She started a charity while she was suffering from cancer,” Cook recalled.
But then Cook reunited the Olathe South family, raising more than $4,000 to help Aly’s charity buy more shoes for more children.
In just a few months, Kick Cancer Like a Girlboss has already raised over $11,000 and donated over 200 shoes to children nationwide. If you would like to contribute, you can donate via Venmo on “TeamAly”.
“All the messages have been really nice with all the parents just saying thank you and sending pictures of the kids with their shoes on, and it’s just nice to see them super smiling,” Aly said.
For her efforts, Aly’s reward was thanking some of the teachers who raised the most money with a cheerful pie in her face at a pep rally on Friday.
“One day, [Aly] said, ‘Mom, I’m glad it was me who got cancer and not my friends because I can handle it. I get it,” Jessica said.
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