KAYLIE KOEHLER (September 2019)
Who is in your family and where do you live?
I live in Kingwood, Texas with my Mom (Shana), Dad (Karl), sister (Alyssa), and puppy (Hershey).
What is one thing that most people would be surprised to know about you?
One thing that most people would be surprised to know about me is how much I love dessert! Even though I try several times a month, I can’t seem to cut out sugar from my diet. My current favorite dessert is peanut butter cookies but it changes day to day.
What things do you like? Any hobbies?
I enjoy a variety of activities inside and outside of school. I am a student at Kingwood High School, where I am a member of the Kingwood Fillies Drill Team, serving as a Social Officer for the team. I also dance at Profusion Performing Arts, my home studio for the past 12 years. I love anything outdoors such as camping, biking, hiking, and going on the lake. Although my favorite subjects are math & science, I also enjoy reading, art, and calligraphy as hobbies.
When and how did you find out about AFF?
Because my parents have known Tony and Amber Bender long before the formation of AFF, I have been involved with AFF from the very beginning. Volunteering at Walk by Faith and various other events are fun memories from my childhood. As I have grown up, I am blessed to have become more involved with AFF through the Junior Ambassadors, a group of students who help provide ideas, plan events, and spread awareness about AFF and the fight to end childhood cancer.
Why did you choose to become involved?
I have known many people with cancer and have seen multiple families affected by cancer in various ways. My Papa has been fighting brain cancer for many years and several people from my Mom’s side have had skin cancer. I’ve realized how cancer can affect a family and I can’t imagine what it would be like to have a child with cancer. It’s so influential to see how dedicated AFF is to ending childhood cancer and I’ve always wanted to help in any way that I could.
Although I had been volunteering for many years, I wanted to be more involved in spreading awareness about this cause. I applied to be a Junior Ambassador because it allowed me to be more involved in Addi’s Faith Foundation’s mission. This opportunity to be a Junior Ambassador has enabled me to share my passion and make an impact on the community.
What do you like about volunteering for AFF? Any special times/stories that stick out?
I absolutely love volunteering and being involved in Addi’s Faith Foundation!! AFF is such an inspiring organization because of how it focuses on serving others while praising God. My favorite thing about volunteering for AFF is how family-oriented it is. My entire family volunteers at events and it gives us amazing memories of serving others together. One specific memory of helping with AFF was about 5 years ago when my sister, my neighbors, and I held a lemonade stand to raise donations for AFF. Another recurring memory is getting to dress up as Hope the Monkey. Although extremely hot during the Fourth of July parade, it’s so much fun to be the AFF mascot at different events and wave to kids.
How has AFF impacted your life and/or those of whom you serve?
Addi’s Faith Foundation has impacted my life in so many ways. One main way is how is provides opportunities to serve others. AFF has also provided me a way to grow in my leadership. As a part of the Junior Ambassadors and Junior Advisory Board, I have grown in my confidence to share ideas and communicate in meetings. Because of AFF, I feel more confidence to go out and volunteer with more organizations so I can serve as many people as I can.
Why do you think it is important for people to participate in the fight against childhood cancer? How can they become involved?
I believe it is extremely important for people to participate in the fight against childhood cancer because of how prevalent it is and how it will affect everyone at some point. Childhood cancer research is greatly underfunded despite how common it is. As a teenager, I can only imagine how the life of someone my age would change because of cancer. I want to help fight against childhood cancer as much as I can so every kid can experience what I get to experience as a high-school student.
There are SO many ways to spread awareness for AFF and the fight to end childhood cancer! Whether it’s being a Sunshine Circle Member (monthly donor), participating in Walk by Faith events, or simply cutting/donating your hair for Cut for the Cure, everyone has the opportunity to make a difference. I want my peers to know about the opportunity to be a Junior Ambassador, because it’s a great way to take on a leadership role in the community and share ideas for AFF!!
What would you like people to know about AFF?
It’s really exciting how much AFF has grown in the past years! Starting out so local, it’s impressive to know that AFF now has events across the nation. Be involved in AFF in any way you can so Addi’s Faith Foundation can help even more families and continue to fund research for a cure 🙂
LISA HOLLEY (August 2019)
Lisa Holley is the founder of Holley’s Hope, an extension of Addi’s Faith Foundation that focuses on supporting families who have lost a child. She is an amazing asset to AFF and we are thrilled to walk along side her and her mission of providing healing to families affected by the pain of losing a child. Lisa can be found at most AFF events wholeheartedly giving herself to our mission of ending childhood cancer.
My Personal Story:
I’m a 1969 baby, so this year is the big 5-0! I welcome birthdays as a way to celebrate the miracle of every life! I see getting older as the blessing of wisdom.
I am a Kingwood original and have and raised my two children, Christian and Cassie, in Kingwood as well.
I’ve been married to my husband Jim for 31 years. Jim and I met in college and graduated from Stephen F. Austin State University together. Jim is the head football coach for Porter High School and has previously coached at Kingwood High and Kingwood Park High.
I have worked for Insperity for 22 years and currently serve as the Manager of Learning and Development.
I enjoy being outdoors and love to spend my time gardening, bike riding, and nature walking. The thing I have truly made a hobby of is being a Nana and spoiling my two precious granddaughters, Elyse Jo and Elaine Ruth!
A fun fact that others might be surprised to know is that I was once a competitive figure roller skater in my youth and I still love to roller skate!
How I became connected to Addi’s Faith Foundation:
My family was a recipient of AFF assistance during my son Christian’s diagnosis and treatment of glioblastoma brain cancer in 2011. Christian was 20 years old at the time and in his junior year at North Texas University studying Economics.
When we reached out to AFF we found out that Christian was once a student of Tony Bender’s at Elm Grove Elementary. The Benders were also close family friends with Tracy Ferris, Christian’s first grade teacher. He was so excited when they brought Mrs. Ferris to visit him during chemo-treatment.
Sadly, Christian lost his battle with cancer on November 28, 2011, just six months after being diagnosed. Our family is forever grateful for the loving support we received from AFF and the entire Kingwood community during that difficult time.
After our son passed away, I wanted to give back to all those that helped Christian and our family. Through Addi’s Faith Foundation, I found a way to do just that.
Being a part of AFF’s mission is such an honor. They are making a difference in so many ways by helping to take off some of the financial burden families find themselves in when thwarted into a daily schedule of appointments for their child. AFF’s partnership with MD Anderson is keeping important pediatric research moving forward so that one day we will have that cure. The scholarships that Addi’s Faith
Foundation has awarded to former brain tumor patients is showing those survivors that we believe in their future!
I love volunteering for AFF! They make every event so much fun to be a part of. It’s fun for the entire family to get involved. Our team “Holley’s Hope” has participated in the annual Walk By Faith 5K for the past 7 years. It’s an annual event that I always look forward to enjoying with my family and friends.
Jim and I are also proud Sunshine Circle members. It is the most convenient way to join arm in arm with AFF and support their mission by an automated monthly donation. No amount is too small! When we join in a collective effort, each of our small donations come together to make a huge difference!
When you see the faces of those kiddos on the AFF newsletters and at events, it truly makes your heart smile to be able to play a role in helping them out.
Thank you AFF for the honor and privilege of being a part of your team! You are forging the way ahead in the fight against childhood cancer and I feel so blessed to be one of many supporting you and running the race with you.