She socked it to the competition

By on January 3, 2018


Kiana Haldeman, 16, shows off the socks produced using her winning design.

When Kiana Haldeman entered a contest in October 2015 to design a sock, she didn’t think that two years later she would actually hold a pair of socks sporting her design.

But that’s what happened.

The 15-year-old Manheim Central sophomore was adopted from China by Sonda and Gary Haldeman when she was one year old. Kiana recalls that for many years, she attended activities such as reunions hosted by the adoption agency in Fort Washington that handled her adoption. During an event in October 2015, she learned about the sock contest, Remembering Linda.

It was sponsored by the family of a staff member who did not survive triple negative breast cancer. According to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation, a triple negative breast cancer diagnosis means that the tumor lacks three ‘receptors’ known to fuel most breast cancers: estrogen receptors, progesterone receptors and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 or HER2.

“I didn’t really know Linda, but she may have seen me at the center,” Haldeman explained. “The contest focused on socks, since her family said she loved to wear colorful socks.”

Haldeman likes art and hands-on drawing, rather than digitally created artwork, so she entered the contest.

“I thought the idea of seeing something I drew being brought to life would be really cool,” she said.

A member of the Manheim Central Marching Barons, Haldeman also stays connected with her Chinese heritage through Chinese dance at the Chinese Cultural Arts Institute, Harrisburg. It was the inspiration for her sock design. She explained that the design features the word “hope” written in Chinese characters, as well as other Chinese-inspired icons.

“China is known for its great panda bears, and bamboo is what they eat. I decided to color the bamboo pink,” Haldeman explained, “and use it to form the pink ribbon that symbolizes breast cancer ribbon as a tribute to Linda. Each sock has half of the ribbon, so when you’re wearing the pair, it forms the complete ribbon.”

In February 2016, she received an email informing her that her design won the contest.

“I was really excited that my design would become a real pair of socks,” she said.

As the contest winner, she also received some prize money. Haldeman said she donated half to support Guatemalan missionary efforts at her church, Manheim Brethren in Christ.

It wasn’t until recently that she held a pair of those socks in her hand. Haldeman explained that Custom Elite Socks asked her to redraw the design so it would fit the template they use for socks. Then a pair was made using a technique known as dye sublimation. This process uses heat to transfer dye onto the material. The design repeats on both front and back of the socks, and Haldeman said the only special care needed is to turn the socks inside out to wash and dry.

“When the package came, I couldn’t wait to open it,” she proudly said. “The socks have my design, but it looks even better since they digitally enhanced the design.”

While having the socks in hand is “pretty cool,” she decided to take it one step further. The socks are being sold with the proceeds donated to the Triple Negative Breast Cancer Foundation. The price of the socks is $15, and they’ll be available by pre-order only. She explained that once 24 pairs are ordered, she can submit the order to Custom Elite Socks for production.

“It’s a unique gift idea, but due to production requirements, the socks may not be available until after the holidays,” she said.

For more information or to place an order, contact Kiana Haldeman via email at

Rochelle Shenk is a correspondent for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your comments and questions at


  1. Shirlee Sloan

    January 16, 2018 at 1:23 pm

    How do I order a pair or two? These are wonderful. I am a triple negative breast cancer “survivor” so these speak to my heart! What a lovely young lady with such talent and compassion.

    • mhunnefield

      January 16, 2018 at 1:26 pm

      From the article:

      For more information or to place an order, contact Kiana Haldeman via email at

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