‘Cancer sucks, socks don't': Austin woman in remission pays it forward to patients

One Austin woman battled cancer twice. Now, she's giving back to patients to make sure they have something to smile about.

AUSTIN - Chances are each person knows someone who is battling cancer.

With constant treatments and aggressive rounds of chemotherapy, it’s a disease that can easily suck the positivity out of someone.

Stephanie Howard, the executive director of Triumphant Warrior, knows the feeling firsthand.

“When you've sat in that chair, when you've been hooked up to chemo, that's when you can relate,” she said as she spoke about her two battles with cancer.

Howard said one of her friends sent her colorful socks to add some cheer to her treatments.

“She didn’t know what else to do but send me fun socks, and so I wore them into the infusion room every day,” Howard said. “And that’s how I would dress, I would dress from my feet up, and it was like I was pulling on my armor, and I was going into battle. And it put a smile on my face, and just made me feel good.”

She said something as simple as a pair of socks started to change the air in the infusion room.

“You walk into an infusion room, and it’s chair, after chair, after chair, and everybody’s in their own world, as they should be because they’re focused on their treatments,” said Howard. “But, at the same time, it’s a cold room, it needs a little joy.”

Howard started Triumphant Warrior and has been handing out socks to cancer patients at Texas Oncology.

“There’s organizations out there that support men. There’s organizations out there that support women. But socks are simple, and socks bring a smile to men, women, and children,” she said. “And through that, just a simple smile starts a conversation.”

She’s given out more than 1,200 pairs of socks since September. Howard wants to continue holding sock drives at Texas Oncology and hopes to expand to other facilities.

“The phrase I like to use is 'Cancer sucks, socks don't,'” Howard laughed. “Because that's really what it boils down to, is if I can bring smiles and laughter and joy into cancer patients' lives where it's not fun … if I can affect one person, then I've done my job."

Go here to find out how you can help.

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