Hannah Lewis always had wanted to give back to an organization she says gave so much to her.

The print version of this story in the Dec. 13 edition of the ThisWeek New Albany News incorrectly reported a T-shirt fundraiser conducted by New Albany High School student Hannah Lewis benefited teacher Robert Britton, whose son was diagnosed with leukemia. The funds went to Nellie’s Champions for Kids, a Columbus nonprofit organization that supports children with cancer, to help families like the Brittons. The Britton family also is involved with NC4K.

Hannah Lewis always had wanted to give back to an organization she says gave so much to her.

This past summer, the New Albany High School senior got her chance, with a nine-week internship with Nellie's Champions for Kids, a Columbus nonprofit organization that supports children with cancer and also is known by its acronym, NC4K.

Lewis used the internship to complete her senior seminar, a New Albany High School graduation requirement in which students research an idea and create a product or complete a project; they must document 80 hours of work for it.

Lewis, a 17-year-old Westerville resident, said she became involved with NC4K after her two-year treatment for cancer. She said the experience was an opportunity to help children who went through the same thing she did.

"We're one big family," she said.

Lewis received her cancer diagnosis at 5 years old, she said.

Her mother, Jessica, had taken her to get an MRI after headaches kept her up at night.

She was told she had rhabdomyosarcoma, a soft-tissue cancer, that was growing in an empty cavity behind her sinuses.

Because the cancer was in an inoperable area, Lewis received radiation and chemotherapy before entering remission. Now, she said, there is no evidence of cancer in her body.

Lewis was in the hospital undergoing treatment in 2006 when she became friends with Eden Adams, who then became her stepsister and introduced her to NC4K.

"I looked up to Eden," Lewis said.

Eden died in 2008 at age 8 from neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer.

Before that, though, Eden participated in NC4K's first fashion show in 2007.

Lewis participated in the organization's second show and never has missed one. On Sept. 22, she participated in her 11th show.

NC4K was founded by Nellie Corriveau when she was 16 years old, said NC4K executive director Mandy Powell.

The organization, known then as Nellie's Catwalk for Kids, has its origins in the 2007 fashion show. Corriveau, who grew up in Reynoldsburg, was inspired to help those battling cancer by her grandmother, Goldie, who died of cancer.

After meeting Eden through the initial fashion show, Corriveau was motivated to continue holding the events, Powell said. The organization was renamed Nellie's Champions for Kids within the past few years, and its mission is to provide financial and emotional support and provide memory-making moments for families of children battling cancer. The organization serves families living and being treated within Ohio, she said.

Though Lewis said she and her family have always taken part in NC4K's fashion shows and other fundraising events, her internship was an opportunity to see the organization from the side of a staff member.

One of the goals she set for her internship was to learn how to plan events, Lewis said.

To that end, she created an event in which NC4K families and supporters could meet with a members of a similar organization championed by her stepfather and stepbrother, Rourke and Riley Adams: Team Will, a charity started in 2006 that holds bicycle treks to raise awareness for childhood cancer. (Riley and Rourke Adams also are participants in Pelotonia, the Columbus-based charity bike tour to raise money for cancer research at Ohio State University's James Cancer Hospital.)

For the Team Will tour, cyclists ride 11 days, from the San Francisco Bay east to the Atlantic Ocean in New Jersey. Along the way, they stop at children's hospitals and visit with the patients. This year's ride was June 20 to 30.

Lewis said she was inspired to plan the event after her stepfather suggested that NC4K families should meet Team Will cyclists during the cyclists' Columbus stop.

She became the liaison between the groups, contacting families affiliated with NC4K and getting the word out through social media.

Several Team Will riders, 12 NC4K families and other organization supporters met June 27 at Gatsby's, 118 N. Hamilton Road in Gahanna.

Lewis printed out "hero cards" with the names and faces of the attending families' children who either survived, were battling or succumbed to cancer to give to the cyclists to carry for the remainder of their bicycle tour. The Gatsby's event was possible because of Lewis' diligence and dedication, said Powell, who served as Lewis' supervisor during her internship.

As a childhood cancer survivor, Lewis is able to recognize that children battling cancer just want the opportunity to be kids, Powell said.

"These kids are not looking for our pity ... what they're looking for is our support," Powell said.

Although her internship was during the summer, Lewis continued her charitable work into the school year.

This past fall, she used her event-planning experience to hold a fundraiser during September, which is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Lewis said she designed T-shirts to raise money for NC4K.

Hollywood Imprints donated 200 shirts that she was able to sell at $5 each to raise $1,000 for the teacher, she said. She sold the shirts to students and staff members at school during the week prior to the Sept. 28 football game.

Although the event helped NC4K, Lewis said, she also wanted to raise cancer awareness.

"It happens to everybody," she said.

ssole@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekSarah