"I recommend that as a you live your life, you take time out of each week to go out of your way to do something nice for someone who is in a worse situation than you are. I can promise you, you will be stronger, more energetic, more positive and happier throughout your life if you do that one thing."
-- Founder James Ragan, in his 2011 salutatorian speech
It was a message about being selfless: To do that one thing for someone else.
As most students head back to school this month, several will consider joining new extracurricular activities. Triumph Over Kid Cancer, a non-profit organization whose aim is to improve the lives of pediatric cancer patients, hopes some consider joining its "Do That One Thing!" council, which was inspired by Ragan's speech at his Carroll High School graduation.
When James died, the "Do That One Thing!" council was born.
Now, 14 schools across the Coastal Bend have a chapter of the TOKC service club, and participate in activities such as hanging out with patients at Driscoll Children's Hospital, and sharing meals with patients' families at the Ronald McDonald House. Several high-school council presidents -- some who have belonged to the group since their freshman year -- stopped by our KRIS 6 News studios to share how, in the midst of helping others, they inadvertantly helped themselves. It's an experience they hope to pass onto other students.
Moody Do-That-One-Thing council president Hannah Ritchie just wants to see kids who have been through so much, at such a young age, smile.
"They deserve to be smiling and happy," said the 16-year-old cheerleading captain. "Once you see the kids smile for the first time, it becomes a little addicting and you just want to keep making them smile. It brings me immense joy to see them happy."
Carroll High School co-president Noah Luna agrees.
"A family will come up to me and say 'Wow. Thank You,' and they didn't have hope and haven't smiled in a long time," he said. "To see them smile again, it just makes the family feel better and I love that."
Kendall Smith, Luna's counterpart at Carroll, however, understands the feeling of being told a family member has cancer.
"I know what they're going through," the Carroll co-president said. "So I don't like that feeling, and I want to do as much as I can for other families."
Triumph Over KId Cancer also provides the opportunity for active members to apply for its scholarships and, if eligible, receive an orange graduation cord for their participation.
The following school districts have "Do That One Thing!" council chapters: Gregory-Portland and London.
The following middle and high schools also have chapters: Flour Bluff middle and high schools; Moody High School; Incarnate Word middle and high schools; Kaffie Middle School; Carroll High School; King High School; Miller High School; Veterans Memorial High School; Ray High School and West Oso High School.
Those attending schools with a chapter can contact TOKC at (361) 883-TOKC to start one, or visit www.triumphoverkidcancer.org for more information.