Stanton Elementary School staff and students are brightening the lives of cancer patients and giving them hope through a special Hope Kit collection.
The school is conducting a campaign from April 21-May 12 with collection bins available in the school cafeteria and items will go to the Weirton Medical Cancer Center. The campaign is being organized by Carolyn Byers, a longtime preschool aide who has been personally touched by the disease. Byers got the idea after she and her husband were both diagnosed in recent years.
“My husband had colon cancer five years ago,” she said. “I had breast cancer three years ago that came back. I’m on treatments now.”
The couple had been assisted at the Weirton facility and received similar care packages as new patients. Byers said that experience inspired her to do the same for others.
“This is the first time I’ve done this, but I’ve taken pictures from the art class and hung them up there,” she added.
She said Principal Shannah Scotch quickly got on board with the idea and letters were circulated to generate support from staff and students as well as family and friends. Among the items being sought are a small, cozy blanket, scarf or hat, warm socks, small packs of tissues, small bottles of sanitizer, a reusable water bottle or cup, Chapstick or lip balm, a bottle or tube of unscented hand lotion, mints, lozenges, candy, lemon drops or gum, puzzle books, journals or notebooks with a pen, coloring books with coloring pencils and small bottles of Gatorade or ginger ale.
She initially planned to create 15-20 kits, but the number could grow based upon the amount of donations. Officials hope the generous act of kindness will bring patients a little more strength, determination and healing each day. Once the collection concludes, Byers will pack the Hope Kits with help from Stanton teachers who are volunteering their time. Byers said the kits will be given to the center for distribution and the collection could become an annual event if it is successful.