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'We will rebuild' | Bardstown business owner creates merchandise to raise money for tornado victims

Rebekah Ison, owner of Doodles by Rebekah, has designed special shirts, ornaments and stickers with phrases like "Mayfield Strong" and "Bowling Green Strong."

BARDSTOWN, Ky. — Amidst the stories of tragedy and destruction in Kentucky, there are stories of hope.

Rebekah Ison is one of those stories. After learning about the devastation following Friday night's tornadoes in western Kentucky, the former Western Kentucky University student knew she had to do something about it.

"It's hard to see places we would go together in college, completely flattened," said Ison, who started the business as a WKU junior seven years ago.

She decided to turn her locally owned art business in Bardstown, "Doodles by Rebekah," into a fundraising effort. She's taking all of her proceeds between Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 and donating them to the American Red Cross to help with tornado relief.

Ison created custom shirts, ornaments and stickers with phrases like "Kentucky Strong," "Mayfield Strong" and "The sun will shine again," and shared them on Facebook. Within just a few posts, a goal became reality.

My heart has been hurting for my state this morning. And sometimes the only thing I know to do in situations like these...

Posted by Doodles By Rebekah on Saturday, December 11, 2021

The designs have struck a chord. Within the first day of sales, Ison raised $50,000. 

As of Tuesday, that number has grown to more than $120,000, after close to 4,000 orders. Employees are willingly working late into the night to get shipments out. Ison said the outpouring of support has been overwhelming.

"I've only cried once today," Ison said.

Emily Summar drove from Bowling Green to pick up her family's order on Tuesday night.

"The generosity of everyone trying to lend a hand in any way they can," Summar said.

It's not a fix, but rather a remedy -- knowing communities will bounce back.

"We will rebuild," Ison said.

Ison is hoping to raise a total of $150,000 by the end of the week. You can learn more about "Doodles by Rebekah" and purchase items from her shop here.

Contact reporter Isaiah Kim-Martinez at ikimmartin@whas11.com. You can follow him on Twitter (@isaiah_km) and Facebook.

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