“You can’t always help, but you can show compassion.” These words by Dr. Steven Kalter, medical oncologist and cofounder of The Start Center for Cancer Care, resonated with the Clark High School students as they finished visiting with patients undergoing chemotherapy.
This philanthropic endeavor came from the mastermind of Clark High School junior, Catherine Pisano. This student has organized multiple community service projects focusing on spreading kindness and bringing positivity to people in need. Catherine approached her counselor to better implement her idea of providing support to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. After brainstorming potential service projects, the idea of collecting new socks for cancer patients to provide warmth and support during chemotherapy became the clear winner. At this time “Sock it to Cancer” came to fruition.
For three weeks, Clark staff and students stepped up and collected over 800 pairs of socks and slippers. In addition to collecting these items, Clark students wrote encouraging messages to patients, which they then attached to each pair of socks. Leaders and members of student organizations volunteered to deliver the socks to The Start Center for Cancer Care. Conversations, laughter, and tears filled the treatment and waiting rooms as the students interacted with the patients and their families. Students continued to hand out socks with the positive messages as a reminder that Clark is supporting them through their journey.
This initial project proved to have such a positive impact on the patients, their families, and Clark High School students that Dr. Kalter asked for this to become an annual event. The students enthusiastically brainstormed how to improve “Sock it to Cancer” for years to come.