DURHAM, N.C (WTVD) -- The Harrison family suffered a terrible loss when Tahisha Harrison, a wife and mother, died after a bout with breast cancer. But the family is not letting anything stop them this year as they honor her memory by collecting shoes for children in need.
"My wife was diagnosed with breast cancer several years back. Had went through the treatments, was in remission and was doing well, then all of a sudden it came back, and it came back with a vengeance," said Stavien Harrison.
Tahisha Harrison was the heartbeat of this family of four, so when the disease took her life a couple of years ago, it devastated Stavien and their children, Chloe and Cayden.
Christmas time brings up somber memories.
"She knew that her time was getting short, and so in the end on Christmas Eve, she wasn't feeling well and she had fell here in the home, and she said 'Stavien, bring the kids, in I need to talk to them, and we are going to go ahead and celebrate Christmas right now,'" Stavien recalled..
But this year, her resilient family is using their grief to push them to do better for themselves and the community.
"It's for to help people in need," said 8-year-old Chloe.
A school project inspired Cayden and his sister to collect shoes for kids who need them
"I started collecting them like maybe the end of October, and it was because I had this project in class and it was a social-issue project," said 12-year-old Cayden. "And one of the social-issues that I brought up was kids that don't have shoes."
And now their dining room is filled with footwear.
"I think we are between 175 and 200 pairs of shoes," said Cayden.
His goal is 250 pairs and to drop them off at the Durham Rescue Mission this week.
"We come in every evening just to look to see what's new and how many new pairs to add to our tally," Stavien said. "And sometimes they put little tally marks over on the board."
Each tally is an accomplishment and a proud moment.
"This is definitely in her honor," said Cayden.
Stavien added: "You think of a basic thing like shoes, sometimes we take them for granted and others just don't have them, and how cool is it that we can be a part of the solution."
Tahisha is not here physically, but she will forever live on for her family
"Her mantra was faith over fear," said Stavien.
She'd be proud of her family's efforts.
"I think she would be really excited to know that we are doing something good in the community," said Cayden
Stavien added: "I think she would be proud to know we've been together, and we will continue to march forward.
If you would like to donate, you can drop off shoes at Peace Missionary Baptist Church, 2608 NC 55 in Durham.