‘The connections are everything’: Two small, local cancer fighters bond over Socks With Stories

Connecticut Families

MERIDEN – “The connections have been like everything,” says Nicole Johnson, mother of little Naaman who continues to battle leukemia. He also continues to be boosted up by the Resilience Gives community. He designed penguin socks for the non-profit, creating smiles amongst hospital patients all around.

“Pretty cool that 4,000 of Naaman’s socks are out in the world,” says Jake Teitelbaum, founder of Resilience Gives, a cancer survivor who grew up in Connecticut.

After he designed the socks, Naaman was the recipient of the organization’s first gown….and now he’s inspiring others to join the cozy movement.

RELATED: Socks with Stories: Meriden boy with leukemia helps design non-slip socks for kids in hospital

“He was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma a year and a half ago,” says Ricardo Medeiros of his son Nathan Medeiros, who became aware of Naaman’s effort.

“They had received a pair of Naaman’s socks while at Yale, so, that’s how they heard about us,” explains Teitelbaum. “Nathan is really into dinosaurs.”

So, Nathan designed some raptor socks!

“Because it runs as fast as me,” says the 6 year old from Pawcatuck. “They shine like a star.”

RELATED: ‘It’ll make him smile’: Meriden boy receives special hospital gown from a young cancer survivor

Sure, the socks are cool but the real mission, says Teitelbaum, is all about making connections….families sharing hope and support during a grueling time.

“To hear other people’s perspective who’ve stood in similar shoes is so powerful,” he says.

“Becoming real friends outside of it – they’re the ones you have over for pizza on the patio,” adds Johnson.

So far, the organization has sent 12,000 socks around the country – creating relationships, providing a positive distraction and raising awareness.

“We’re so grateful he’s doing this for awareness and raising funds and raising joy, everything it’s doing for families right now,” says Johnson of Teitelbaum.

“It’s nice what they do for the people,” says Medeiros.

“We understand we’re not going to be the next Nike, but we’re excited to make a small difference in the lives of some people who are going through tough times,” says Teitelbaum.

For every pair of socks that are purchased, Resilience Gives donates one to a child in the hospital.

Click here for more information.

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