While some crumble in the face of adversity, Frisco mom Kerri Steele channeled her grief into a way to help others.
On Christmas Eve of 2012, Steele’s husband died following a three-year battle with cancer. Left with three small children, Steele spent the following year in survival mode, grappling with the grief of losing her husband and the reality of raising three small children on her own.
In January 2014, when “the fog began to lift,” as she puts it, Steele spent a week praying, fasting, and thinking through her next steps.
“During that time, the Lord gave me a vision for a program to help children who were watching a parent or sibling battle cancer,” says Steele. “That’s when Little Hearts of Hope was born.”
Seven months later, she officially launched Little Hearts of Hope, a nonprofit organization providing monthly “Hope Packages” to elementary- and middle-school children coping with the cancer diagnosis of a parent or sibling.
While each package is slightly different, they all arrive in a bright purple mailer containing two activities designed to comfort and teach coping skills.
“We strive to teach creative expression and to help increase emotional intelligence in children,” says Steele. “We help families create memories and mementos to remember this time, as well as building trust between parents and children. We believe that building trust and opening lines of communication for families during cancer treatments is crucial for the long-term mental and emotional well-being of children.”
Since 2014, Little Hearts of Hope has grown to serve families in 17 states around the country, and Steele has big plans of growing it further. She’d like to expand its reach, develop a high school program, and introduce a Spanish branch of the organization.
“After that, I would like to see our brochures in every hospital and clinic in the country,” says Steele. “I want every family with children in the home to have resources and support for this difficult journey in the world of cancer.”
To make her vision a reality, Steele will continue to rely on the support of others. Individuals can participate in Sponsor a Child Initiative, which provides a monthly package for $35 a month; host supply drives; or volunteer as a “prayer partner.”
Additionally, Little Hearts of Hope hosts two major fundraising events each year, including participation in North Texas Giving Day and Will’s Run, which is held in McKinney every April.
For more information on how to get involved, visit the website.