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Children design T-shirts, raise money for Relay for Life team

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At this weekend’s Relay for Life, the In His Steps team will have a clear goal. Their T-shirts will say it all.

The bright orange shirts are emblazoned with a steamroller. “Flatten Cancer” sandwiches the graphic on top and bottom.

The shirts have a special meaning for the team, who asked school children from all over Franklin to help create and design its logo.

Two Webb Elementary School children have joined with the In His Steps team to raise money for cancer research. Artwork by Bryce Theobald, a third-grader, and fourth-grader Samantha Thurman was chosen from more than 1,000 submissions.

Team members will be selling T-shirts and greeting cards with their designs this weekend at the Franklin Relay for Life.

“They had to use their heart and their head when they made those pictures,” said Sally Hood, co-captain of the In His Steps team. “It taught kids about cancer. It brought it home.”

Theobald came up with the design for the shirt. Thurman created a flowing dancer and cancer ribbon symbol, with the motto “Color a Cure.” Her work will be sold as greeting cards to raise money for Relay for Life.

As a fundraiser, members of In His Steps came up with the idea to sell T-shirts and greeting cards. Hood wanted to play into the overall Relay for Life theme, “Color a Cure,” and envisioned an art contest among local school children.

Hood approached schools throughout Franklin about her idea, and four elementary schools — Webb, Needham, Northwood and Union — all agreed to participate.

In her presentations, she included a video of children with cancer talking about what Relay for Life means to them.

Hood said she hoped that would be a good motivator and help the students connect to their work.

“Everyone has cancer in their lives somewhere. Something like this gives the kids a moment to stop and think about what Relay for Life is all about,” she said.

Children worked on the projects in art class. They were restricted to four colors, which would enable a print shop to recreate their work.

Organizers took all of the submissions into the community to help judge the best ones. Representatives from the Franklin Fire Department, Goodwill and Walgreens helped narrow the field.

The best ones were presented to the staff at the Johnson Memorial Hospital Cancer Center, who picked Bryce and Samantha as winners.

Each child was presented with a trophy that identified them as first-place winners in the contest. Area businesses provided gifts for the kids.

The shirts will be sold for $15 Saturday and Sunday at Relay for Life, scheduled to be conducted at Franklin Community Middle School.

The greeting cards also will be available, costing $1.50 apiece or five for $7.

So far, the In His Steps team has raised more than $7,400.

“It’s been amazing. I never thought that we’d have the impact that we have, with so many kids sending in designs,” Hood said.

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