Cancer Charity Evolves into School Project

Community service project teaches students life lesson

By Lindsay Wilcox
|  Tuesday, Feb 2, 2010  |  Updated 6:23 PM CDT
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Teenager Inspires Others

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Teenager Inspires Others

After fighting and beating cancer, an Irving High School senior is inspiring her classmates to give back.
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Today, Hailey Hodgkiss is a healthy, fun-loving senior at Irving High School. But, four years ago her world was rocked by a cancer diagnosis.
 
"I immediately thought I was going to die," said Hodgkiss. "I looked at my mom and I was just like, 'I'm really going to miss this. I'm really going to miss my family.'"

She courageously fought leukemia for two and a half years. In remission now, she's giving back through her own charitable foundation, Hailey's Gift Bags for Hope; a non-profit delivering goody bags to patients undergoing treatment.

"They're geared for teenagers, because the norm for juvenile cancer is between one and 10," said Hodgkiss. "So, at the hospital, they have very few things for older kids."

When the DECA (Distributive Education Clubs of America) group at her school was trying to pick a community service project for a marketing competition, the bags were a natural fit.

They're having fun supporting a cause they have can connect with, and learning the importance of promoting a non-profit rather than a product.

"It just gives us more of a reason to be there for her, and we learn from her experience," said classmate Rebecca Renteria. "We hear her stories and that gives us more motivation to be there and start working with her."

The students will present their project against other North Texas teams this weekend. If they do well, they're hoping to advance to state.

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