And while all children serve as a testament to the fund’s value, one in particular will help keep its mission moving forward: Paisley Collins, a Rogersville child who was supported by The Ellis Fund during her battle with cancer. Sarah Collins, Paisley’s mother, shares the moment during her daughter’s cancer journey when they were grateful to receive help.
“I remember feeling like an angel had dropped from the sky and took that weight off of my shoulders,” says Collins of receiving support from the fund.
Paisley Collins died eight months after her diagnosis. She was 2. Their tragedy led Collins and her husband, Tyson, to create the Paisley Collins Memorial Foundation with the CFO in 2016 to help families experiencing similar hardship.
“Tyson and I knew we had two options, and that was to go up or go down and we chose to go up,” says Collins. “We knew we had to keep Paisley’s legacy alive and we wanted to do that by helping families who are in our same situation, just the way The Ellis Fund had helped us.”
The field-of-interest fund will continue supporting families with funding for non-medical expenses, creating its own legacy while carrying on the work done in memory of Ellis.
“I’m not worried that families won’t be served,” says Catt. “I trust the Community Foundation and the Paisley Collins fund to help families in Springfield, even ones I haven’t met.”
Looking back at this chapter, Catt speaks to how helping others has brought peace to her own life.
“I still think of it as Ellis’ spirit helping the other children help their parents,” she says. “When you help everyone else, it heals.”