To describe Kate Blair as a powerhouse might be an understatement. The Xavier senior took her sister’s life-changing diagnosis and created a new outlook on life – which in turn, helped her raise money, start a podcast and even write a children’s book.
In 2011, at seven years old, Kate’s then 5-year-old sister Elizabeth was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma.
Both Non-Hodgkin and Hodgkin Lymphoma are the third most common cancers in children.
What happens with this cancer is that early white blood cells, called lymphoblasts, grow out of control and fail to mature. These cells, which make up the lymphoma, increase in number, causing swelling or enlargement of the glands or other body areas where they are usually found.
Kate was determined to do anything to help her sister and others who experience similar diagnoses. She set out to raise money for the cause by selling candy bars and rainbow manicures on her family’s front lawn.
Years later, Kate would go on to win Miss Arizona’s Outstanding Teen 2021 and Miss America’s Teens in Action 2022 with her initiative to “Raise A Voice” for childhood cancer. Through this initiative, she has helped raise over $150,000 for the EBB Foundation [named and created for Elizabeth by her family] and various other charities. She’s even addressed members of Congress in Washington, D.C. on the topic.
Kate started a podcast called “Raise A Voice,” which was named one of the top 15 podcasts for childhood cancer for 2021.
“I knew this cause had impacted my family and changed our lives forever,” Kate said. “I saw my sister start experiencing side effects of chemotherapy – from losing her hair to not being able to walk or run around – not getting to be like a normal kid. I knew from that moment that I wanted to do something and that I needed to make a change and impact the lives of people who were affected by this cause.”
Kate’s next step in her advocacy journey was to co-author a children’s book called Princess Pippa and the Crown of Kindness. Written by Kate, Heidi (Kate’s mom) and Elizabeth, the book uses real conversations from their lives.
One conversation in particular stuck with the family – when Heidi asked her daughters what made them beautiful. Elizabeth answered, “lipstick.” Kate laughed and explained that true beauty comes from the heart, and she hopes it will help young children deal with chemotherapy’s side effects. This is the focus of the book.
“My sister and I were completely confused by what was going on. A few weeks later, Elizabeth would be diagnosed with cancer,” Kate said. “She’d be losing her hair. She’d be going through an identity crisis because she didn’t look the same, and her life was different. That moment, in a way, was a God-given moment because even though we didn’t know it was coming, it prepared us. I use that story in my book to spread the message of beauty through kindness.”
Today, Elizabeth is cancer free.
Kate was recently selected as a semifinalist out of over 68,000 applicants to The Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, which recognizes and awards a $20,000 scholarship to 150 students nationally who impact the community.
Kate will graduate from Xavier this year and plans to major in biology in college.