I couldn't believe my eyes when I walked into the Mall of Acadiana Saturday! I was greeted by hundreds of little (and big) karate kids and thousands of boards piled high at center court.
The little ninjas started thing off. The piles towered over them, but they attacked!
"HI YA"! they called out with each kick, punch and elbow to the board.
"HI YA" "HI YA" HI YA"
With each kick, they raised three dollars for families fighting cancer in Acadiana! This year, nearly 300 Acadiana Karate students got into the action and helped raise more than $23,000.
Their teacher, Sensei Stacey Mejia, can't remember how many years ago she started this event, but she does remember why. Stacey used to line up behind Miles' Mom, Debbie Perret, while both of them waited for their sons to get out of school. Stacey told me, she was inspired by the Perrets to reach out and help too.
Since those days of picking up their boys, Stacey has turned that every day moment into magic by giving back to families fighting cancer in Acadiana!
Over the years, Acadiana Karate has helped raise more than $100,000 for Miles Perret Cancer Services with "Kicks For Miles".
Stacey is an example of how one person, with one idea and a huge heart can inspire thousands to reach out to families fighting cancer and change lives.
This year, Acadiana Karate dedicated "Kicks For Miles" to Sandy Graeff, a grandmother and karate student who lost her battle with cancer. Sandy took up karate to spend more time with her 8-year-old grandson, MacGeorge. Last year, MacGeorge lost his karate partner to cancer and his fellow students rallied around him to honor his beloved grandmother.
As I was leaving the mall Saturday I couldn't help but feel, as I so often do these days, blessed beyond measure.
When someone hears the words, "You have cancer", it is because of Acadiana Karate, its students and their families ---- that they have a place to turn to support them through the fight of their life!