OLATHE, Kan. — A simple pair of shoes carried a powerful message Friday at Olathe South High School.
Fundraising efforts at the high school raised more than $4,000 for student Aly Arenholz’s “Kick Cancer Like a Girlboss” charity, which was created after she was diagnosed with thyroid cancer and a few other conditions.
When a family friend gave her $450 for whatever she wanted, Aly’s mom 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 let a few other kids going through similar health challenges design their own shoes. She hoped the shoes would lift up those children in the same way they lifted her through doctors’ appointments and hospital visits.
“Just to bring a little light to them whenever everything is super stressful,” Aly said. “No kid should have to go through that or anything like that.”
When word of Aly’s charity work during her own treatment got to teacher Nick Cook, he was floored.
“I’m like, ‘What?’ She started a charity while she has cancer,” Cook remembered.
But then, Cook pulled together the Olathe South family, raising more than $4,000 to help Aly’s charity buy more shoes for more kids.
In just a few months, Kick Cancer Like a Girlboss has already raised more than $11,000 and donated more than 200 shoes to kids all over the country. If you’d like to contribute, you can donate through Venmo at “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, and it’s just nice seeing them super smiley,” Aly said.
For her efforts, Aly’s reward was saying thank you to some of the teachers who raised the most money with a good-natured pie in the face during a pep rally Friday.
“One day, [Aly] said, ‘Mom, I’m glad it was me that got the cancer and not my friends because I can handle it. I got this,” Jessica said.
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