Advisor Wayne Harris, CFP®, served as an Auburn Cheerleader from 1984 to 1987 and his daughter, Francie, continues the tradition as Auburn’s Head Cheerleader. On Saturday, September 27, Wayne and Francie returned to the field as part of the 2014 Auburn Homecoming Court. During halftime festivities, Francie was named Auburn’s Miss Homecoming 2014. See the story on al.com.
Francie’s platform was Open Hands Overflowing Hearts, a non-profit organization started by Kayla Perry, a freshman at Auburn. Kayla was diagnosed at age 18 with high-risk Stage IV Neuroblastoma, a pediatric cancer more typically seen in young children. After 15 months of treatment, Kayla was informed that the cancer continues to grow and the chances for a cure are very low. Kayla founded Open Hands Overflowing Hearts to raise as money and awareness for pediatric cancer research. By the end of the week, Francie raised in excess of $6,000 for Open Hands Overflowing Hearts.
Francie explained, “I have always had a heart for children! Early on I realized my desire to work specifically with children with pediatric cancer through my involvement as a volunteer with various organizations that serve children and families directly affected by this horrible disease. My commitment to making a difference in the lives of children and families facing challenging medical experiences led me to choose Child Life as my major, with the goal of making that my life’s work as a Child Life Specialist in a pediatric healthcare setting; therefore, my desire to raise awareness of childhood cancer is not only my platform, it is my passion.
“I want to bring a personal side to this issue by taking it a step further and recognizing stories of students within our own Auburn family who have persevered and survived pediatric cancer or who are currently struggling as they battle this horrific disease. Among these are student athlete Shon Coleman, a pediatric cancer survivor, and current Auburn University freshman Kayla Perry, who is fighting to win her own pediatric cancer battle. I want to challenge Auburn students by asking the question ‘What would you do to end childhood cancer?’”
Homecoming week was full of memorable moments, but highlights include Francie and her team discovering they had passed their goal of raising $5,000 for Open Hands Overflowing Hearts. As Francie says, “We all went nuts! At that point, we won no matter who was announced Miss Homecoming.” Being on the field with her father and hearing her name called was “icing on the cake.” Francie added she has been profoundly touched by parents and peers who have reached out to share their personal stories of fighting pediatric cancer.
In addition to serving as Head Cheerleader, Francie is a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, a High School Leadership Counselor, and member of the Freshman Forum. Visit Open Hands Overflowing Hearts to learn more.
We join Wayne, Anna, and James in congratulating Francie on being named Miss Auburn Homecoming 2014.