By Lynne Golodner
When Paris Davis first came to Kids Kicking Cancer (KKC) as the sibling of two brothers with Sickle Cell, she was shy.
“I stayed to myself most of the time,” she recalls. “But then I became more outspoken, always laughing. I’ve met so many amazing people through the organization. I just love it.”
“We’re all goofy,” she says. “There are always smiles and laughter when we’re together. Everyone is so comfortable to be around. They’re the type of people that even when you’re upset, they’re always there for you and give you comfort.”
The youngest of seven kids, Paris is graduating from Cass Technical High School in Detroit and going on to Wayne State University in the fall, where she plans to study nursing and midwifery.
Much of her childhood was punctuated by her brothers’ challenges “and being there for them,” Paris says. “I enjoyed visiting my brothers in the hospital and playing games with them even when they were under the weather.”
Paris also has the Sickle Cell trait. KKC made everything seem just fine for her family.
“When I joined the Heroes Circle program as a kid, I was looking to have fun,” she says. But as a teen, helping out at programs with younger children like Trunk or Treat, she’s “realized that the program helps in other places, too. Like power breathing – when I was a kid, it helped the pain, but now I see it’s a meditation exercise that helps in stressful situations like quizzes.”
Watching her siblings and friends experience pain, struggle with illness and treatment, and hearing how power breathing helped them “influenced my decision to become a nurse to help other kids in similar situations,” she says.
She also appreciates the welcome she felt from KKC’s Heroes Circle community.
“I am very grateful to have these girls as my friends,” she says. “Without them, I’m not sure where I’d be right now. They’ve made that big of an impact on my life.”
“It’s really cool how they connected,” says Paris’s mother, Patrice. “During Covid, they couldn’t see each other as often as we would like, but once they got back together, it was like they didn’t miss a beat. When one of them steps up, the others do too. They all jump in, and feed off each other, in a positive direction. They work together to make each other better.”
Through her time with KKC, Paris has come to believe that “every minute counts.”
“Spend time with anyone and everyone who you can,” she says. “And kindness is always the way to go.”
“I’ve learned leadership and compassion from KKC,” she says. “Think with your heart forward. In the future, I’m going to create more bonds with people, and show compassion and kindness. I am so grateful that Cindy Cohen (Global Program Director) allowed me to come to this program. I plan to visit when I’m in college.”
KKC will miss Paris, too. Paris – along with Haley, Danielle and Je’Nailya – is a “steady foundational rock in this program,” says Cindy.