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Carly’s Kids: Daughter’s Passion Becomes Mother’s Mission For Change

Carly Hughes succumbed to cancer when she was just 24 years old. Her mother, Irene Vouvalides, chose to celebrate her daughter’s life by establishing Carly’s Kids: A Foundation For Education. The goal: to ensure the survival of Holy Family School, one of the country’s oldest African American parochial schools, located in Natchez, Mississippi.

Carly’s Story

Carly (middle) with roommates Alyssa Rosenfeld (left) and Robyn Antonucci

(As seen on carlyskidsfoundation.com) - Carly Elizabeth Hughes was diagnosed with gastric cancer on October 8th, 2012, just two days before her 24th birthday. Carly never complained during any of her treatments. She refused to feel like a victim, and she spent her last months determined to beat the disease, inspiring everyone around her— including her family, friends, and the entire medical team supporting her. Carly lost her battle on February 17th, 2013. The determination Carly portrayed during her cancer treatment was the perfect example of the passion she exhibited in life. Carly’s mother, Irene, has started this foundation in Carly’s name. We know that Carly’s Kids is a foundation that will keep her spirit alive, and it is in our hands to help her now. Via Facebook: carly.elizabeth.3705

Carly’s Kids: A Foundation For Education

Carly’s Kids has been established through the Community Foundation of New Jersey and created in Carly’s honor. It is the goal of the Foundation to provide education for children in need, as well as supporting educational research for prevention and treatment of esophageal and gastric cancers. Via carlyskidsfoundation.com

Where Carly’s Kids Attend School

The Holy Family School was founded in 1890, and is one of the oldest African-American Catholic schools in the country. It was created out of need to educate young African-American children, most of whom were descendants of slaves, who were not receiving a quality education during the time of segregation. Once a school that educated children from the ages of two to eighteen years of age, the school has had to cut grades one through twelve over the years. It is now an Early Learning Center, educating children ages two through five. Via carlyskidsfoundation.com

Mother and Daughter: An Eternal Bond

Carly and Irene in Hawaii after Carly’s graduation from Boston College in 2011. Via carlyskidsfoundation.com

Irene, embraced by Carly’s Kids

Justin Sellers / The Natchez Democrat Via natchezdemocrat.com

Carly’s Kids

(Submitted photo) Carly and a Holy Family student. Via natchezdemocrat.com

My Connection

Full Disclosure: I met Carly Hughes during the first few weeks of my freshman year at Boston College in the fall of 2007. It was, is and will continue to be one of the greatest honors of my life to be able to name Carly as my close friend. This post is intended to spread her remarkable story, with the hope that Carly’s courageous fight, both against cancer and on behalf of the wonderful children of Holy Family, inspires others to devote their energy and spirit towards a greater future. Via Facebook: carly.elizabeth.3705

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