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Raising funds and taking action

After her friend passed away from cancer, freshman Sophia Goodson was determined to help cancer patients, one donation at a time.

When Goodson was 11 years old, her friend, Christopher Wilkey, passed away from cholangiocarcinoma, a rare form of cancer that drains bile from the liver into the small intestine. The same year, Goodson’s mutual friend introduced her to ChangeWorks! Foundation, a nonprofit organization run by high school students that raises money for children and adults with rare forms of cancers. Since then, she has collaborated with other organizations such as Michael Hoefflin Foundation, California Pizza Kitchen, and Relay for Life for fundraisers.

“[Christopher’s passing] makes me [understand] how other people feel if that could possibly happen to anybody else’s child or family member. Knowing that [my actions are aiding] other people makes me feel better,” Goodson said. “[The other organizations’ support] helps us because we have the same goal, so we can be more productive and successful.”

ChangeWorks! Foundation recently began implementing a system in which families in need are able to fill out a form to receive financial aid. She has met several of the patients and their families whom the organization has donated money to.

“Hearing their story makes me think that they have gone through a lot more than anything that I could ever imagine,” Goodson said. “I definitely have a greater sympathy for [cancer patients] than what I already had before. It has brought more of a sense of caring and compassion and more of an urge to help other people. Knowing that we made a difference really sticks with me.”

Goodson is one of the nine directors, which entails voting on how much money families are given for cancer treatment. She also plans to join sub committees where she will assist with decorations, catering and donations for fundraisers.

“I definitely improved on public speaking and confidence, knowing more about business and being more aware. I have learned to present myself more [professionally] in [social settings],” Goodson said.

Recently, Goodson worked alongside the ChangeWorks! Foundation to help generate $4,000 to pay for one patient’s medical bills.

“Seeing the reactions of [the patient’s] parents and knowing that their child’s treatment has been paid for [makes all of this worth it],” Goodson said. “Having this hit you makes me think what I am doing is out there [and helping people]. It really makes me feel like I can make a difference in the world.”

By Sherman Wu, Feature editor

Photo courtesy of Sophia Goodson


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