It’s hard to believe Lily Hsin is only 10 years old. Gregarious and well-spoken, she smiles when asked if she is ready to take to the runway by herself in her home of Southern California this January. She, of course, has some runway experience. She rocked the New England runway with her parents, Ricky and Melissa this past fall. She’s ready to do it all over again in honor of her Aunt Rachael, who passed away of breast cancer when Lily was young.
At the mention of Rachael, Lily glows and exclaims, “it was always fun with Aunt Rachael.” From playing Pokémon Go all around hotels they were staying at, to paint classes (“Aunt Rachael was a really good painter!”), it’s clear the bond the two had. When asked to describe her Aunt, Lily’s youthful innocence shines: ”She had dark hair and she smiled a lot.“ It’s a simple sentiment that feels so poignant in the moment.
For Lily, expanding Runway to the west coast means she gets a space to celebrate her Aunt Rachael’s memory, but more important, she gets to meet other children affected by breast cancer. As Lily begins to ramble on about the start of school, seeing her friends, hugging her teachers and organizing her supplies, it becomes clear why we continue to carve a space for children to work through the emotions of losing a loved one to breast cancer- simply to allow them the support to continue being a child.