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Appleton girl uses “Socks with Stories” to inspire kids with cancer

Published: Nov. 20, 2020 at 4:48 PM CST
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APPLETON, Wis. (WBAY) - An Appleton girl who’s dealt with pediatric cancer spent the day trying to give a little cheer to those still in treatment.

Twelve-year-old Kiara Sanders is part of a national Socks with Stories campaign, in which childhood cancer survivors design socks and donate them to other children undergoing treatment.

“Hopefully inspiring them to stay positive during their treatments and making their days brighter, getting the pair of socks,” said Kiara.

A pilocytic astrocytoma tumor was found on Kiara’s spinal cord in 2016, and a year later things took a turn for the worse.

“On New Years Eve 2017 where I woke up paralyzed from the waist down,” said Kiara.

But through chemo, surgery, physical therapy, and a positive attitude Kiara regained mobility and her cancer is now stable.

“I just think there’s other people that just have much worse things going on and that it could’ve been worse and I’m lucky to have it just be this,” said Kiara.

“She went through a lot during her treatment but we also met a lot of amazing people, got in touch with a lot of amazing organizations,” said Lisa Sanders, Kiara’s mom.

One of those organizations was Resilience Gives, the company that started the Socks with Stories project as a part of its pay it forward initiative.

The socks are meant to be a comfortable, fun alternative to the plain socks hospitals provide. Kiara received a pair of her own while she was in treatment.

“Those little things, they mean more than you could ever know,” said Lisa. " When you’re going through that there’s a lot of really rough, tough days. A lot of days you’re not feeling well. And just those little things, just knowing that someone out there is thinking of you, is cheering you on, is providing some hope for you is amazing.”

Which is why Kiara donated 50 pairs to Milwaukee Children’s Hospital, featuring hers and other kids’ designs.

“The socks had to mean something to you,” said Kiara.

Kiara’s “Comeback Cone” pattern was inspired by her time at a camp for kids with serious illnesses, where she got to have some fun in a difficult time.

“I think they turned out really cool,” said Kiara.

A cool way to inspire kids in treatment - from someone who knows exactly what they’re going through.

“I hope that it makes them want to keep fighting and to stay positive,” said Kiara.

Resilience Gives had 50 kids donate 50 pairs of socks each to local hospitals this fall. The company’s goal is to donate 10,000 socks overall.

People can purchase Kiara’s, or another survivors’, socks online. The company donates another pair to a child in treatment with each purchase.

You can find Kiara’s socks here.

Learn more about the company and its mission at the Resilience Gives website.

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