Emily Shannon gives back through her Boxes of Bravery

Emily Shannon began her service project before she came to Marshall University. Boxes of Bravery is an outreach project through the community that helps ease the transition between the hospital and home for families affected by childhood cancer.

“I wanted to give families items they might not realize they need yet and ease the financial burden of obtaining them, given that 75 families are affected by this form of cancer annually in West Virginia,” said Shannon.

These boxes are shipped across the state to these families who were affected lately. So far, Shannon has been able to gather funds and ship 9 boxes to families since starting Boxes of Bravery nearly one year ago.

Shannon began working on this project as an extension of her platform for the Miss America’s Outstanding Teen organization.

“I was given the opportunity to create a platform to advocate for and work on during my year of service, so I chose a topic incredibly near and dear to my heart,” said Shannon. “I have partnered with the West Virginia Kids Cancer Crusaders as a part of my platform as Miss Jefferson County’s Outstanding Teen to support my local families beyond battling childhood cancer.”

Shannon is majoring in Early Childhood Education and hopes to become a Child Life Specialist at a children’s hospital. Child life specialists work with children and families to help them cope with the challenges that come with being hospitalized and navigate their new reality.

This platform is important to Shannon because of her personal experience with a loved one affected by childhood cancer.

“My younger brother Will was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2009 when he was around 4 years old. Through his battle with cancer, I got to witness the many challenges that faced my family,” said Shannon. “Over the years, I have watched and supported other families dealing with childhood cancer, which inspired me to take my support to a bigger scale.”

This is Shannon’s motivation to keep raising awareness and fundraising to send more Boxes of Bravery. She has experienced what these families are facing and wants to help them in the ways others helped her own family.

“You never really know what you need or what is your greatest challenge until it’s right in front of your face. Being a local titleholder has made it a possibility to help some of these families battling childhood cancer and attempt to make their fight just a bit easier,” said Shannon.