Having competed in beauty pageants for years, Taylor Kandris knows that people seem to listen more when she’s wearing a crown.
She uses her pageant platform to raise money for cancer research, and at 12 years old, Taylor created Crowns for a Cure, an organization which raises money for breast cancer research and awareness.
“People respect you more and actually want to listen to you,” Kandris, a first-year early childhood education major, said. “I use my crown and banner as a microphone to champion breast cancer research and awareness, and to give Crowns for a Cure a bigger name.”
Crowns for a Cure is a for-profit organization that works for a non-profit. Kandris said she puts any money she wins from pageants toward Crowns for a Cure funds, and all of those proceeds go to the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Kandris said Crowns for a Cure has raised more than $12,000 for charity.
A personal cause
Kandris said one of the motivations to start Crowns for a Cure was her grandmother, who died of breast cancer the day after Kandris’s fourth birthday.
“I wish I would’ve known my grandmother,” Kandris said. “My mom tells me all the time, ‘You’re just like her,’ so this is kind of a way for me to feel connected to her because I was so young when she passed away.”
Kandris said she doesn’t remember much about her grandmother beyond trying on her grandmother’s wigs after she lost her hair to chemo and being attacked by a rooster on her grandparents’ land. However, she said she will always have Crowns for a Cure to connect her to her grandmother.
Kandris has held many fundraisers, such as selling handmade key chains, hosting a car wash and holding a Tea with a Queen luncheon for women at her local country club and golf course.
“It’s just getting the word out there because it’s not a well-known organization,” Kandris said. “It’s just about raising the money for people who really need it, and people who can’t afford the mammograms or surgery or chemo.”
Kandris’s mom Theresa said she was proud that Kandris is a person that other young people can look up to.
“It makes me happy that people are recognizing some of the things that she does,” Theresa said. “I think it’s good for young people to see that the littlest things do make a difference for people.”
Kandris said she knew she wanted to come to TCU after learning about TCU’s involvement with the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
“The day I was accepted was honestly the greatest day of my life so far,” Kandris said.
After becoming acquainted with Ann Louden, the chancellor’s associate for strategic partnerships and TCU Frogs for the Cure chair, Kandris agreed to be in the 2013 Frogs for the Cure video.
Though she was hesitant at first, Kandris said she was glad she had a part as a lip dubber in the video, where she lip-synched a portion of the video’s song.
“Hopefully I get to be a part of it next year and all of the rest of the years I’m here,” Kandris said. “It was an amazing experience. Ann is just so amazing.”
Louden said she had high expectations for Kandris in the video. She even went to her dorm room one day to examine her pink wardrobe.
“I just think that she’s a charming, sincere, hard-working, talented young lady,” Louden said. “I’m glad she’s here. She’s the kind of student that offers a lot as a campus citizen. I love to think that maybe she’ll take her passion for this cause and enhance what we’re trying to accomplish.”
Kandris said hearing and seeing the impact she’s made has been rewarding.
“It’s just giving them my time to help them,” Kandris said. “It’s not only raising money, it’s helping them behind the scenes and getting to know some of the people who dedicate their profession to working for Susan G. Komen.”
Theresa said Kandris’s work has made her and her father proud.
“I know that my mother sees what she’s doing and is so proud of the work that she’s done,” Theresa said. “Breast cancer has really affected my family. I think she felt that it was something she should do and even in some small way she could make a difference.”