Lions Clubs International has 5 global causes - In District 22W, we bring these global causes to our local communities. Impacting the world, starts in our own backyard.
Globally "Lions and Leos provide support for the needs of children and families affected by childhood cancer through impactful service activities."
Sneakers for Abby
South Carroll Lioness-Lions Club
Lion Kay Field raised to the South Carroll Lioness-Lions the idea of helping a four-year old girl in Eldersburg named Abby who had been diagnosed with a brain tumor, an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor. The club had just learned about a fundraising project from “GotSneakers” that paid for used sneakers that they would provide to the needy in third-world countries or would recycle into playground fill. The club decided to help raise funds to assist Abby’s single mother in covering cost not covered by insurance.
Lois Szymanski of the Carroll County Times wrote an article for the October 13, 2020, edition called Community Coming Together to Help Young Eldersburg Girl in Fight Against Cancer. She told the story of Abby who in October 2019 got a bad, migraine-like headache. An MRI revealed a 4-centimeter tumor. 90% of the tumor was removed at Children’s National Hospital in Washington five days later.
The club’s president was quoted as saying, “The Lions motto is ‘We Serve,’ and supporting Abby is important to our club because helping a child in need in our community is what we do — especially since childhood cancer is one of Lions Clubs International’s global causes.” Another of our global causes is the environment and with this sneaker collection we are able to support two of our global causes. We are helping a child in our own community, helping old and young around the world to obtain shoes, and improving the environment by reducing landfill waste.
Old sneakers will be evaluated by “GotSneakers” while those at the end of their life will be recycled. Shoes that can be cleaned and repurposed will find new life on the feet of adults and children in need. Recycled sneakers are broken down into parts and repurposed to create and resurface playgrounds and sport courts, or into new shoes, insulation, carpet padding, and other uses.
The South Carroll Club began collecting new/slightly used/used sneakers youth sizes (3.5Y and up) and adult sneakers at three collection sites in Eldersburg, Finksburg, and Westminster - the homes of three members of the club. Members of the club collected from their gym, their children collected at their colleges, some collected from their church, and some from their families.
Other clubs joined in by collecting sneakers in their communities. LaVale, Roaring Run, Freedom District, Westminster and others collected sneakers. Community members read about the program on FaceBook and NextDoor. An 8-year-old also collected sneakers from her neighbors.
The club’s treasurer reported that the total funds raised the first year of the campaign, from GotSneakers and individual donations, was $5,032.00. Lion Kay Field was recognized by District Governor Barbara Brimigion at a District 22W Cabinet meeting for the Sneakers for Abby project.
Abby is paying it back by providing service to other kids with cancer through a program called, “Abby’s Carts of Courage.” The program provides a cart or wagon to children with cancer to help them maneuver through their cancer journey. This year, the Region IV, Zone III golf tournament sponsored by the six Lions clubs of the zone: Deer Park, Freedom District, Greater Carroll, Roaring Run, South Carroll, and Taylorsville-Winfield will donate to this program.