By: Elizabeth Cyr, KP DECA Director of Public Relations
On October 17, 2013 the King Philip community suffered severely for the loss of fellow classmate and dear friend, Rylee Collins. Rylee was a sophomore in high school at the time of her death, only days away from celebrating her sixteenth birthday. She unexpectedly passed within a span of a few short days due to an undiagnosed brain tumor. King Philip High School and our surrounding community mourned her lost for months after her passing, and The Rylee Memorial Fund was established in her honor.
The Rylee Fund supports a variety of charities and causes throughout local communities, recognizing the impact that higher education, the creative arts and service to the greater public can have on expanding one’s perspective and knowledge of the human experience. It is the organization’s hope that a greater appreciation and acceptance of the diversity and uniqueness of each individual will be reached through their efforts. Through our fund raising efforts and charitable donations, her legacy of love and passion for life will continue.
One of Rylee’s greatest gifts to this world is too often overlooked. When Rylee was diagnosed as brain dead, her mother, Lisa Burke, made the life altering decision for her daughter to become an organ donor. Rylee gave the gift of life to seven others when she donated her organs. Her generosity is rarely recognized by our community and it is the goal of King Philip DECA’s campaign, called “The Lucky Seven,” to promote Rylee’s story and make our community aware of the impact one can have when they register as an organ donor.
“The Lucky Seven” campaign is hosting a variety of events in Rylee’s honor. The campaign team will sell pink bandanas for students, faculty, and community members to wear during homecoming Spirit Week and the homecoming football game at King Philip High School. The bandanas will be available for purchase at $3 each, every day leading up to homecoming, October 16. All profits will go directly to The Rylee Fund.
The chapter will be represented at the “Spooktacular” event hosted annually at King Philip High School on October 28 from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m. It will be a night filled with fun games, snacks, and costume contests for local children, hosted by high school students. Throughout the month of November, students at KPHS will have the opportunity to pledge to become an organ donor and make monetary donations to The Rylee Fund. All contributions will be accepted and The Rylee Fund will have merchandise available for purchase during this month and throughout the school year.