Strut For Kids
No Child Should Fight Alone.
I am always humbled at the generosity of people rallying together to help families facing the fight of their lives. Strut for Kids (https://strutforkids.org/) is an extraordinary non-profit organization based out of North Carolina and is solely dedicated to supporting local children in New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick counties on their pediatric cancer journey. They are committed to supporting these families from the time of diagnosis, during treatment and beyond.
I had an opportunity to speak with Amy Beddingfield, Board Member and passionate advocate of Strut For Kids to learn more about this organization, the amazing work that they do and the families they serve.
Strut For Kids: Our Mission
Amy shares that “Strut for Kids was originally formed when a child, Owen Preston, in our coastal North Carolina town was diagnosed with cancer while in elementary school. The founders of Strut For Kids were inspired to help this family through the journey of childhood cancer.
We currently support 10 families with a child in active cancer treatment and 70 others at various stages of the journey. We try to foster a sense of community so that families know they are not alone. Our families know people love and care for them and can relate to what they’re going through.”
Strut For Kids: Fundraising
Strut for Kids hosts the Purple Carpet Event annually along with other local nonprofits to provide a day filled with joy and smiles to celebrate hope in life. The Purple Carpet Event is a festival for the whole family with crafts, games, face-painting, catered lunch and a professional magic show. Much of the support that Strut For Kids offers is financial assistance to help a family through crisis.
There are three major fundraisers to provide resources for families dealing with pediatric cancer, The Cardinal Strut 5K, The Owen Preston Bingo Night and St. James Tennis Clinic.
Amy Bedingfield, Strut For Kids
The Cardinal Strut Race with over 350 runners and 500 total attendees, plays a central role in raising funds for Strut For Kids.
In the fall, Strut For Kids hosts their annual bingo night at a local country club. There are almost 200 attendees and 2-3 kids currently on-therapy (along with their families) are invited as honored guests.
The final fundraiser of the year is at The St. James Plantation with a silent auction, morning full of clinics with 24 participants, and finishes with a large triples round robin with almost 40 players.
Strut For Kids: Our Impact
Amy shares “Strut For Kids supports families facing childhood cancer by trying to meet each family where they are and paying attention to their unique needs. All families must travel for treatment, which is often in Chapel Hill, North Carolina over 2 ½ hours away each direction. In one case, we had a father who lost 25% of his income so he could be present for his family while in Chapel Hill. Strut For Kids helped them pay a few bills to help with missed work and extra expenses. In this case, the father was able to provide for his family while also being fully present during life-saving cancer treatment.”
In other cases, Amy shares “We’ve set up meal trains with volunteers in our community who provide a home-cooked or takeout meal delivered to the family’s home. If you’ve been in the hospital seven weeks, the last thing you feel like doing once you finally get home is grocery shopping and meal planning. Our goal is to help people transition back to their new normal and know they are not alone.”
An Attitude Of Gratitude
Amy shares “anyone who’s dealt with significant illness or trauma understands that you can either be overcome by it or you can be resilient and persevere. I see how important it is to have relationships and to have a community… to feel supported and not alone. That is how you persevere. These kids go through so many tough things and yet still have a smile on their face. They have taught me the definition of true strength and courage. I think I am more mindful now - I try my best to have an attitude of gratitude by being thankful for what I have, no matter the circumstance. Don’t get me wrong, some days this is tougher than others but my perspective has shifted and I am better for it. ”
How You Can Get Involved
To donate to Stut For Kids or to get info on their next fundraising event go to their website at https://strutforkids.org/get-involved/donate/
Amy explains “anyone can get involved because everyone has a gift. It may be sending up a prayer daily. It may be the gift of cooking. We all know food can be healing to the soul! I recommend for folks to find out what community organizations support those in need in their area and support their mission by attending fundraising events or donating to their cause.”
Thank you Amy and thank you Strut For Kids for the inspiring work that you do!