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Lilly’s Hand Scholarship


Lilly Cantrell was a beautiful, blue-eyed, curly-headed, blonde, four-and-a-half-year-old. Lilly had Cerebral Palsy, and with the equipment she used, caught other’s attention—but when she smiled at them, they forgot about the disability and saw her beautiful face. She was a smart, funny, caring child who brought joy and tons of laughter into the lives of those around her. In her death, we wanted to continue her spirit of caring and giving.

—Mike and Teri Cantrell, parents

Mike and Teri Cantrell developed Lilly’s Hand along with Lilly’s maternal grandparents, Robert and Sue Hart, and the UT Early Learning Center. This fund is designed to assist those families who want to enroll their child with special needs in the ELC. Without the enrollment of children with special needs, the UT ELC cannot fully serve its mission of providing an inclusive early care and education teacher-training program for students in the College of Education, Health, and Human Sciences.

lilly 210_01 Lilly's hand
The many families that have benefitted from Lilly’s Hand fund are grateful to Lilly’s family and the CEHHS for supporting their children as they grow and develop during their time at the Early Learning Center.

If your family is interested in applying for the Lilly’s Hand scholarship, please contact us at

If you would like to support a child with special needs through the fund, you may do so by UT payroll deduction and/or by clicking the “Give to the ELC” link in the left menu.