Durham family turns cancer loss into drive to collect shoes for kids in need

DURHAM, NC (WTVD) — The Harrison family suffered a terrible loss when Tahisha Harrison, a wife and mother, died after battling breast cancer. But nothing will stop the family this year as they honor her memory by collecting shoes for children in need.

“My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago. Had been on treatments, was in remission and doing well, then it came back suddenly, and it came back with a vengeance,” said Stavien Harrison.

Tahisha Harrison was the heartbeat of this family of four, so when the disease took her life a few years ago, it devastated Stavien and their children, Chloe and Cayden.

The Christmas season brings up gloomy memories.

“She knew her time was running out, so finally on Christmas Eve she wasn’t feeling well and she’d fallen at home and said, ‘Stavien, bring the kids, I need to talk to him. And we’re going to have Christmas right now'” “Stavien recalls.

But this year, her resilient family is using their grief to push them to do better for themselves and the community.

“It’s to help people in need,” says 8-year-old Chloe.

A school project inspired Cayden and his sister to collect shoes for children who need them

“I started collecting them, maybe in late October, and it was because I had this project in the classroom and it was a social project,” said 12-year-old Cayden. “And one of the social issues I brought up was kids who don’t have shoes.”

And now their dining room is filled with shoes.

“I think we have between 175 and 200 pairs of shoes,” Cayden said.

His goal is 250 pairs and to drop them off at the Durham Rescue Mission this week.

“We come over every night to see what’s new and how many new pairs we can add to our tally,” Stavien said. “And sometimes they put little marks on the board.”

Each count is an achievement and a proud moment.

“This is definitely in her honor,” Cayden said.

Stavien added: “You think of a basic thing like shoes, sometimes we take them for granted and others just don’t have them, and how cool is it that we can be part of the solution.”

Tahisha is not here physically, but she will live on forever for her family

“Her mantra was faith over fear,” said Stavien.

She would be proud of her family’s efforts.

“I think she would be really excited to know we’re doing something good in the community,” Cayden said

Stavien added: “I think she would be proud to know that we have been together, and we will continue to march.

To donate, you can drop off shoes at Peace Missionary Baptist Church, 2608 NC 55 in Durham.

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