Kalley Smith

Kalley Smith, an Osceola High School student, recently donated 15 cancer care bags and a milestone bell to Osceola Medical Center’s Oncology department. She is pictured with OMC’s Oncology Manager Sanci Harshman, RN; Oncology Nurse Amber Poppovich; Smith; and Oncology Nurse Megan Koecher.

Why Wait?

Witnessing the struggle of a parent with cancer led to a fundraising program and career path for an Osceola student.

Last year, Osceola High School student Kalley Smith took a class called “Why Wait.” The purpose of the class – which counted as an English course – was for students to help tackle a problem in the world. For Kalley, her inspiration to join the course was her mom, Amy Smith. “In 2019 my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. After watching her go through this unprecedented journey, I wanted to help others who are going through the same thing. This has been a difficult journey for my family and this project was my platform to help other families.” says Kalley.

The “Why Wait” class project began in September 2020. Kalley titled her project, “ChemoStrong.” She began fundraising by starting a Go Fund Me page. In addition she had someone donate a handmade quilt, which she used as a prize for a raffle she held. Kalley also made and sold tumblers with the project’s name and logo. 

By the end of 2020, Kalley had raised more than $3,000.00 which allowed her to build 120 cancer bags that were donated to the local Oncology Departments. 

Kalley got the idea for the cancer bags after talking with some of the nurses that cared for her mom during treatment. She asked them what items people needed. Based on their suggestions, with the money raised Kalley filled the cancer bags with: blankets, soft toothbrushes, hand sanitizer, hand warmers, moisturizing lotion, chaptstick, water bottle, a puzzle book, note pad and pens.

By the end of 2021, Kalley has raised $3,800.00 total (her original goal was $1,200.00.) She also donated another 15 cancer bags and a milestone bell to Osceola Medical Center’s Oncology patients who are going through chemotherapy.

Just like her inspiration for her class project, Kalley got the idea for the milestone bell from her mom. She explained, “As my mom was finishing chemotherapy she had talked to others who told her about the bell. The milestone bell is for patients to ring once they have completed treatment. The clinic where my mom received treatment did not have one. Osceola didn’t have one either, so I thought it would be a good idea for the Oncology Department.”

Kalley is now in her senior year at OHS. “This whole project opened my eyes to what I want to do in the future. I want to be in health care and help patients.” At this time, Kalley is looking at Radiography and Radiation Therapy programs. She has applied to a couple of programs and feels confident that this is her, “path for right now.”

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