ALEXANDRIA, Minn. - An Alexandria teen is spending another holiday season giving back to other kids.
"When I was younger, I had many surgeries at Gillette Children's Hospital and I got a pair of plain blue hospital socks and it made me really excited that they would think of me. It was just a pair of plain blue hospital socks," Emersyn Harris, 15, said.
Emersyn, then 10, thought if she loved them, other kids in the hospital probably would too.
"But wouldn't it be awesome if they got pairs of silly socks so when they looked down at their feet they aren't scared anymore?"
Emersyn started collecting fun socks with bright colors and prints, calling them "silly socks." She hoped to collect a hundred pairs that first Christmas. Instead, she had a thousand.
"And so every Christmas after that, her dream just gets larger and larger," said Denise Harris, Emersyn's mom.
Now, five years later, people send socks to her in Alexandria from all across the nation.
Each pair of socks includes a poem written by Emersyn that starts off with, "From the warmth of my heart for someone so sweet, I give the gift of my love, silly socks for your feet."
This Christmas, the 15-year-old is sending more than 4,800 pairs of socks that will go to children at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The boxes should arrive Friday.
"They don't need to be reminded of their illness, they just need to smile," Emersyn said. "I would much rather give than receive. It feels so much better."
Emersyn also sends homemade cards to kids who are sick. She started "Cards for Kids" when she was 8-years-old, after a boy with cancer posted on Ellen DeGeneres' Facebook page his wish to receive a million get well cards. It's her dream to one day meet Ellen.
If you would like to help Emersyn, you can visit her Facebook page.