November 26 was celebrated as Sock Out Cancer Day in the Catholic Schools of the Diocese of Syracuse, with students and staff at all 22 schools sporting rainbow-striped socks to raise awareness of and funds to support individuals facing cancer.
Sock Out Cancer “is a nonprofit initiative whose mission is to assist financially distressed cancer patients and their families pay for non-medical necessities such as food, transportation, and housing so patients can focus their energy on fighting cancer,” according to its website. Money raised by the organization through sales of multi-colored socks — the colors represent the many types of cancers — and community-based fundraising efforts is distributed though foundations at local hospitals with no administrative fees, according to a release from the diocese.
Bishop Douglas J. Lucia declared Sock Out Cancer Day at a Nov. 25 event to benefit the Rescue Mission at Blessed Sacrament School. In addition to the school’s annual tradition of baking pumpkin pies for the organization’s Thanksgiving meals [see page 7 of this issue for more], the morning event saw Sock Out Cancer donate its signature socks to the Rescue Mission.
Bruce Boyea, a founder of Sock Out Cancer, explained that the inspiration for the diocese-wide schools partnership came from his granddaughter Quinn, a fourth-grade student at Holy Family School in Fairmount. Quinn wanted to bring the Sock Out Cancer initiative to the Catholic schools. Boyea called Catholic Schools Superintendent Bill Crist, who was quickly on board. The idea was then brought to Bishop Lucia, whose support “took it to all-new levels,” Boyea said.
Quinn, who was present at the press conference to announce Sock Out Cancer Day, said “it feels really amazing” to have inspired the participation across all the schools.
Tori Shires, Chief Development Officer for the Rescue Mission, said the socks donated by Sock Out Cancer would go directly to those in need.
“Socks are one of the biggest needs that individuals facing homelessness have,” she said. “We do find that, in the winter months, we will see folks come in with frostbite, especially on their extremities, so having a warm pair of socks is essential to just the basic health needs of someone who might be experiencing homelessness.”
In his remarks announcing Sock Out Cancer Day, Bishop Lucia recalled the New York State bishops’ recent meeting with Pope Francis, during which the Holy Father spoke about the idea of accompaniment. Pope Francis told them “it’s important that as leaders in the Church we accompany in three ways,” the bishop said. “We lead, sometimes we push it along, and the most important thing is that we stand in the middle — that we stand with those who are in need, and we meet them where they’re at and we try to help them along the way. For me, that’s what Sock Out Cancer is all about.”
To learn more about Sock Out Cancer, visit sockoutcancer.org.