Having a family member develop cancer is heartbreaking, but even more so for a 7-year-old who didn't know what that meant.
Nellie Krumlauf, a past Do Something grant winner, told of how her grandmother’s passing, along with their shared love for fashion, inspired a movement that helps children battling the disease.
When you think back to your childhood, what do you remember? Is it memories of learning to ride a bike, playing capture the flag with friends, or taking family road trips? For Krumlauf, it was spending time with her grandmother Goldie Sheridan.
“On rainy days I would put on mini fashion shows for her, making my own catwalk right through her living room,” said the now 21-year-old. “Being a little girl I didn't have enough allowance for fancy lights or music but all of that didn't matter. What mattered were the laughs and memories we shared together, through the love of fashion.”
Despite tragically losing her grandma to cancer, Krumlauf revealed that the last gift (a red dress for one final fashion show) she received from her sparked the idea for “Nellie’s Catwalk 4 Kids” (NC4K).
However, it wasn’t until she was 16 (and searching through a box of her grandma’s jewelry) that Krumlauf realized what she was meant to do.
“I thought to myself, what if I could come up with a way to revive the passion for fashion my grandma and I once shared and transform that into making a difference in my community,” she stated.
Cancer is the leading cause of death among children in the U.S. More than 16 out of every 100,000 young people are currently diagnosed with the disease. NC4K aims to directly help families that have a child/teen battling cancer.
According to Krumlauf, one little girl, Eden, changed her life forever. “Eden walked in with her bald head and just jumped right in the action with everyone else,” said the 21-year-old about NC4K’s first fashion show. “She got dolled up and begged for her head to be covered in sparkles.”
And it was Eden, who ultimately set the wheels in motion for what was supposed to be a one-time fundraiser to become an annual event. After the first show she ran over and exclaimed: “‘Nellie that was the coolest thing ever, I can’t wait until next year!’” shared Krumlauf. “Right then I thought to myself if a little girl can fight cancer then why can’t I fight for more awareness and funding for pediatric cancer.”
The nonprofit organization offers support before, during, and after treatment—providing not only financial aid, but also emotional. Krumlauf says her mission is to globally expand NC4K. “I want NC4K to become a household name in the sense that if someone is passionate about helping pediatric cancer families they know about us and can have an outlet to make a difference in.”
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