When the time came to decide between sky blue, lime green or pink T-shirts for Florida Studio Theatre’s summer camp recital, Nicholas Collins’ choice was easy — pink, for breast-cancer awareness.
“What inspired me was my aunt, Lori Hillstrom, who is a breast-cancer survivor,” said the 11-year-old. “I thought it would be nice if we could represent that somehow.”
During previous summers, FST Director of Education Beth Duda was used to hearing that campers selected shirt colors for reasons such as “because it’s bright” or “because it’s pretty.”
“The reasoning behind Nick wanting it to be pink was unusual,” Duda said. “It was such a passionate plea — it was surprising.”
Nick’s reasoning about his choice led to a discussion with the other students about how cancer had affected their lives. Students shared stories about family and friends who are or had been affected by cancer, stories about death — nearly every student had been touched by the disease at one point during their lives.
“Last Sunday, my aunt and I ran the Ringling Bridge together,” Nick said. “I’m glad she survived, because I care about her. We really get along.”
For the past week, all of the students in the FST summer program have brought in spare change to raise money for the Cancer Support Community. So far, they have raised more than $200. Nick hopes they can raise at least $350.
“The thing I’m struck by,” Duda said, “is often times we just assume that a topic as heavy as cancer is something we should keep from children to shelter them. But it’s most eye-opening for me, because Nick gave us a really great opportunity to share, open up and take some action so that every child in camp feels better because they’re doing something.”
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