When parents Ali and Michael Smith heard their daughter complaining about running club, they thought she was just #OverIt, but after a two week period of consistent low-grade fevers, they knew something else was going on. What they didn’t expect, however, was to hear their pediatrician tell them their daughter had leukemia. Now, after a three year journey, Finley is cancer-free and is using her hospital artwork to help other families fighting cancer.
During her many hospital stays, Finley took advantage of hospital programming to draw, paint, and bead whenever she could. “For me, it really helped to have something I liked doing to take my mind off of cancer,” says Finley reflecting on her time in the hospital. Finley’s grandmother would challenge her to create art by combining two unlike objects, usually consisting of one animal and one food.
In a visit to Finley’s home, she pulls out one of her drawing books and points to a “Mooshroom”, a cross between a moose and a mushroom. Next is a pizza turtle (or turtle pizza depending on your interpretation). “Silliness runs in the family,” says Ali as she explains their family’s unofficial motto of “more laughter than tears” during Finley’s cancer journey.
Even during the intense induction phase, Finley was known on the floor for her boundless energy. “One day, she found a tricycle clearly meant for younger kids, and thought it would be fun to ride around the unit with it,” Michael explains. “Next thing we know, her doctor hopped on the back and was getting a lift around the unit.” There were definitely low points, too. “She’s never been one to complain, so when she did say something hurt or didn’t feel right, we knew to take her seriously,” says Ali.
When Finley heard about an opportunity to bring her artwork to life in the form of fun hospital socks, Finley jumped at the chance. Now, Finley’s Cow socks are delivering cozy toes and warm hearts to families across America thanks to Resilience Gives’ donation model, where one pair of socks is donated for every pair purchased.