2016 #MyGivingStory Award Winner

By Felicity Cantrell

My giving story is a simple one, but one filled with pure love. On October 29th, 2014 my beautiful 9-year-old daughter Scout passed away unexpectedly from cardiac arrest due to an asthma attack. She was a vivacious, loving, brilliant fourth grader who's goal in life was "to make the world a little bit better place" She was a smart student, a gifted competitive swimmer, and she wanted to be a veterinarian when she grew up.

She believed in helping others from a very young age. She volunteered at our local Feed My Starving Children, she volunteered time and held supply drives for our local animal shelter, all of our pets are rescue animals because of her, and any charity work her school did, she was always the first to sign up.

Because her passing was so senseless, because she was such a beautiful light in this sometimes discouraging world of ours, my other beautiful daughter Katie and I knew we had to do something to honor Scout and her legacy and to keep her light shining in this world, and to continue to "make the world a little bit better place" for her.

We started the For Scout Foundation one year ago with a very simple mission-to support the causes that Scout believed in while she was alive, and to honor her life and spirit the best way possible.

We have donated over $15,000 to the American Asthma Foundation, who are working tirelessly to find a cure for asthma, and who have a special group working in Scout's name because of the funds we have donated to them.

We have donated over $10,000 to the Anderson Animal Shelter to ensure that as many cats and dogs can be rescued as possible, and so that just like Scout did, more families can provide a forever home to these lovely animals.

We have donated over $50,000 to the public schools in our district specifically towards their arts education programs, because Scout felt that music and art were a crucial part of every student's education. She played Viola in her elementary school orchestra.

We put in $10,000 worth of ADA compliant playground equipment at Scout's school so that every single child could know the joy of playing on a playground during recess-Scout never wanted anyone to feel left out.

And lastly, we have created the Scout Cantrell Scholarship Program within the St. Charles Aquatics Program, so that every child can have full access to swim lessons and swim teams, without worrying how they will pay for them. Scout lived swimming and was brilliant at it, and wanted to make sure no child ever felt left out in the pool

In the last year we have donated over $100,000 to the cause Scout supported and believed in, and those that now honor her incredible spirit. The notes we get from families in our community who are directly benefiting from this For Scout Foundation, and Scout's legacy are truly heart-warming, and in a special way help our family make sense of the loss of our beautiful Scout.

Scout was a beautiful soul who only wanted to do and see good in the world. She loved to give to others. So #mygivingstory is continuing to give to the causes Scout believed in. I know it is what she would want, and in every donation we give and receive, I feel Scout's love.

Written in support of American Asthma Foundation.