If you have been with me since the beginning, you’ll remember that it was a conversation with Yvonka Hall, the executive director of Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, that helped me bring TKB from an idea to a real project that is coming up on its 2nd birthday. (Yay!) So many organizations start with a single, good-hearted idea that just needs a little muscle behind it to become something magical, and our next featured organization is one of them.
Project Outrun, an organization based in Northeast Ohio, has provided over 1000 custom shoes to kids undergoing cancer treatment, but the story started with a single pair for a young girl named Kylie. When Andy Shepperd, the founder of Project Outrun, met Kylie at a 5K organized in her honor, he wanted to design a pair of custom shoes for her. In a note to Kylie’s father, Andy said, “When Kylie outruns cancer, she has to be wearing the right shoes.”
From there, the dream grew. Now, Project Outrun provides kids custom Nike by You shoes and fun swag at all three northeast Ohio pediatric hospitals including Akron Children’s Hospital, UH Rainbow Babies & Children and the Cleveland Clinic. Expansion to a virtual platform has allowed the project to service kids across the country, and there is a separate fund to provide shoes for siblings, too, allowing them to feel connected to their sibling during their journey with cancer. Currently, Project Outrun is able to offer the Sibling Fund to families within their Northeast Ohio hospital partners, but the goal is to grow funding so they can offer the Sibling Fund to all families in the fight across the country.
But, it’s obviously about more than just the shoes. The shoes are just super cool symbols of strength during a difficult race against cancer. Kylie, three-time cancer survivor and the kiddo who sparked the idea for the project, puts it best: “My shoes remind me that I always have people there for me, and to have hope, which keeps me going.”
The profits of all TKB sales during the month of September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, will benefit Project Outrun as they work to empower pediatric cancer patients in our community. This quick, one-month campaign includes a super exciting bakery case takeover at Roasted in Tremont on Saturday, September 10th + Sunday, September 11th and the Tiny Kitchen Collective will be partnering with Kindness Runs the World for their Sugar + Sole Bake Sale benefiting Project Outrun on Saturday, September 10th from 9a-12p at the University of Akron Student Recreation and Wellness Center. Stay tuned for more details about the Roasted bakery case takeover and Sugar + Sole Bake Sale in the days ahead. For more information about Project Outrun, please visit their website.