AUSTIN, Texas – Stephanie Howard knows what battling cancer is all about.
Howard was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin Diffused B-cell lymphoma, which caused her to have problems with swallowing and breathing.
She underwent several rounds of chemotherapy, which eventually eliminated the cancer.
But Howard also attributes her triumph over cancer to a kind gesture from her best friend in high school.
"(She) sent me five pairs of fun socks. One pair for every day I was in the infusion room," she said. "And when I wore those fun socks, they brought smiles to my face, they brought smiles to other people's faces."
The fun socks inspired Howard to share her secret for treatment success by starting the nonprofit organization Triumphant Warrior in 2017.
The nonprofit has distributed more than 2,000 pairs of socks, which the patients love.
"A lot of people are full of fear, but these socks make you feel warm, like somebody cares," said Roberta Martin, a cancer patient.
Dr. Sangeetha Kolluri, a breast surgeon at Texas Oncology, said the socks go beyond what doctors and treatment can do.
"While you're getting your treatment, there are still things to smile about, laugh about, things that are still funny. And that's what life is all about," Kolluri said. "And these socks really help remind my patients of that, and I just love them."
While the socks put smiles on patients' faces, there are also handwritten notes in them that provide optimism and hope.
"They save those notes because those notes help them every day and help ground them as to staying positive," Howard said.
From socks of Wonder Woman to creative designs, the socks are putting smiles on patients' faces one pair at a time and Howard has no plans of slowing down production.
"Our mission is to put fun socks on every cancer patient's feet in the U.S. one patient at a time," she said.