Five-year-old pageant winner fundraises for Relay for Life

Published 12:01 am Wednesday, June 10, 2015

NW0610 Beauty Queen Fundraising C

Holly Franklin is just like any other 5-year-old. She loves to play dress up in sparkly shoes and makeup. She loves Lalalaloopsy dolls and father-daughter date nights with her dad and she collects rocks.

Another thing Franklin loves to do is fundraise for the American Cancer Society to help raise money through the Relay for Life.

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“It’s because it’s for cancer,” she said. “They are sick and I can help.”

Franklin holds multiple pageant titles; including Tiny Ms. Piney Flats, Tiny Miss Seedling from an Arbor Day pageant, and Miss East Tennessee Relay for Life Mini Grand Supreme.

“That one’s a handful,” Franklin said of her longest title.

Franklin takes her title on the road and uses it to help raise money for cancer research. She has held two fundraisers so far and has collected almost $150 for the Relay for Life.

Part of the hard work behind those fundraisers is her own. Franklin volunteers at the annual Relay for Life events in Carter, Washington and Sullivan county. When she volunteers she helps out at the luminary table and helps sell the luminary bags that line the walking tracks in memory of cancer patients.

While she was volunteering at the luminary booth, she learned how to draw a cancer awareness ribbon, Cassie Franklin, Holly’s mother said.

“After she learned how to draw them, when we got home she wanted to make her own,” she said. “She made a lot of ribbons, and everyone who makes a donation to the Relay for Life get’s one of Holly’s ribbons.”

One day, Holly decided to take her ribbons one step further. She started another campaign to collect stuffed animals and attached her ribbons to them. She then donated the stuffed toys to the Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

“We got dollies and bears and we took them to the children’s hospital,” she said. “Those kids are sick so we brought them to them.”

She also gets help from her father Charlie, who makes keychains and other items from paracords that people can get for a donation to the Relay for Life.

“One time, one of the guys gave me a lot of dollars and took all of daddy’s keychains he made,” she said. “He gave us $37.”

Through her work for Relay, Holly also had the opportunity to meet cancer survivors.

“It was awesome because I had never met a survivor before,” she said.

Even though she is a busy little girl, Holly has spare time to do other things she enjoys.

“I like being busy though,” she said.

When she is not being in pageants or fundraising for Relay, Holly works hard to keep up her rock collection.

“I keep those in my ring box,” she said. “They are lucky.”

Another highlight, spending time with her mom and little brother Derrick who will soon turn 1 year old.

“I named him,” Holly said. “My dad named me so I got to name him. My little brother stands up a lot, and he likes to get into things.”

Her monthly father-daughter dates are a fixture on her social calendar. For their latest outing, they took part in a Chick-fil-A father-daughter event.

“I got to ride a horsey with a carriage, and I got flowers and candy,” she said. “I was like Cinderella when she was going to the castle.”

Holly will also be part of a new commercial for Ripley’s Aquarium in Gatlinburg.

“We did video with the fishies and the turtles and there were sharks,” she said. “There was one shark kept coming over to me. I think he liked me. And, we saw a lot of jellyfish. I saw their babies. They were so cute.”