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SOAR WITH US Crystal Wang, a junior at Memorial High School, created a nonprofit group to help people with cancer. Here, she sings at the SOAR Benefit Concert. (Photo: Kylie Baker)
It was a year ago when I found out my cousin Tommy had bone cancer. At just 15, he was forced to face the reality of a shortened lifespan. Tommy was absolutely miserable. I wanted to help my cousin, so I turned to my passion for music. Though I couldn’t change his condition, I might be able to heal his heart. I wrote a song called Soar With Me to inspire my cousin to keep holding onto hope.
Seeing the pain my family went through, I was inspired to aid other families going through similar situations. I started a student-led, nonprofit cancer organization, SOAR (Students for Oncological Aid and Relief). Our mission is to bring joy to cancer patients who are suffering.
While we can't cure disease or alleviate pain, we can show them they are not forgotten. In our first month, we raised $4,000 in monetary and physical donations! We gave Texas Children’s Hospital care packages filled with over 800 goodies, from chemo necessities to entertainment items. We included a handmade card with each package. This was the first time I understood what it meant to impact a stranger’s life.
In less than a year, SOAR raised over $13,000 in total donations. We’ve worked with Texas Children's, Houston Methodist, Memorial Hermann and more to bring over 1,600 items in forms of care packages and toys for patients. We've expanded to three high schools (Memorial, Stratford and Seven Lakes) in the Houston area, and we're still growing.
On Feb. 25, we hosted our biggest event of the year, the SOAR Benefit Concert. Many talented, award-winning performers, singers, dancers, magicians and more, came together in the spirit of giving. We were also recognized with awards from Congressman Al Green and Congressman Pete Olson for our work as an organization. At the end of the night, we had raised over $8,000! We plan to use the funds from this event to further expand and develop a more personal relationship with patients. To learn more, please visit www.soarabove.weebly.com.
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