North Carolina 9-year-old battling leukemia raises over $24K for the V Foundation for Cancer Research

By | September 9, 2022

In the midst of battling leukemia, 9-year-old Harper Harrell has dedicated her days — in and out of the hospital — to raising money for the V Foundation for Cancer Research. 

With her “Peace out, cancer” T-shirts, Harrell has already raised tens of thousands of dollars for the foundation to support others who are fighting a similar battle. 

The effort has been dubbed the “Brave Like Harper” campaign. 

“I know that it’s hard and that it’s tough. And if there’s any other way to make it feel any better than it does, I would love to help … because it isn’t really easy doing this,” Harrell told Fox News Digital. 

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After Harrell was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in October 2021, she started learning about the foundation started by ESPN broadcaster and legendary basketball coach Jim Valvano, which benefits cancer research and programs. 

The foundation has already awarded nearly $290 million in cancer research grants nationwide and “has grown to become one of the premier supporters of cutting-edge cancer research” since its founding in 1993, according to its website. Its Dick Vitale Fund for Pediatric Cancer already donated nearly $60 million to end pediatric cancer. 

The foundation’s administrative costs are paid completely by its endowment, which means 100% of donations go to cancer research.

Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) is the most common type of childhood cancer, according to St. Jude. 

Roughly 3,000 people under the age of 20 are diagnosed with ALL each year in the U.S. More than 15,000 children and adolescents in the U.S. are diagnosed with some form of cancer each year, according to the V Foundation. 

Even though it’s a tough diagnosis, Harrell knows “one small thing could change a lot.” 

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Shortly after beginning treatment, she started to mess around with some drawings in her notebook. One of them was a ribbon with a “Peace out, cancer” message written below it. Harrell thought the design would be a great T-shirt for children facing a similar battle. 

While Harrell was busy with her treatments, her mother, Heather Hindin, found a way to bring her dream to fruition. She set up a T-shirt campaign through Custom Ink. The plan was to donate half of the proceeds to the foundation while using the other portion for her medical expenses. 

The duo already raised over $24,000 earlier this year for the foundation after launching two T-shirt campaigns and through advocacy. 

“There’s all of these notes of encouragement that people can post when they order as well,” Hindin said. “It just helped so much with her spirits and keeping her positive.” 

They launched their third campaign this month to coincide with National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and have already raised almost $3,000, which will specifically go to the Dick Vitale Fund for Pediatric Cancer.

Donations to the Dick Vitale Fund for Pediatric Cancer will be matched for every dollar up to $1 million, thanks to contributions from It Works! founders Mark and Cindy Pentecost.

Harrell, who says she has always had a passion for helping others, offered a simple piece of advice: “Try and help and assist where you can, and you will do great.”