After battling cancer herself, 7-year-old Jenny Shaw knew exactly what it was like to be away from home without most of her belongings. That’s why she’s putting together care special packages to help them through their hospital stays.
"Stuffed animals, toiletries, warm blankets, warm socks," Jenny said, listing the items in each care package. "Things you would need in a hospital — like stuff you could sleep with and take baths or showers with.”
So far, Jenny, of Rochester, N.Y., has handed out 50 of her care packages filled with coloring books, crayons, toothbrushes, and beanies for young chemotherapy patients to area hospitals.
"It’s fun, but I didn’t get to go into the rooms and see the kids," she told InsideEditition.com.
Her dad, Mike Shaw, explained that they found masses on her abdomen last summer and assumed it was an allergic reaction.
But by August, doctors diagnosed her with Wilms tumor, a form of cancer often found in children younger than 5 years old.
"All the air left the room," Shaw said. "All three of us were in shock. We never planned on being in the hospital more than a couple of hours and we ended up staying in the hospital for a week."
The visit began with X-rays and biopsies and eventually Jenny had to get five surgeries within the few weeks they were in the hospital.
Remembering having an especially hard time being away from her comforts, she decided to start raising money to build care packages for other kids like her in November through a GoFundMe campaign.
She has now passed her goal of $50,000, allowing her to hand out at least 1,000 bags this year.
"We found that even in challenging times, it’s still important to give back and through giving back, you find a way to celebrate and find the silver lining in ever cloud," her dad explained. "We wish it didn’t have to be a need but we definitely want to make that experience a little bit lighter and put a little smile in a time that can be kind of dark.”
Jenny just finished her final round of chemotherapy two weeks ago and is preparing to on vacation to Hawaii through the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
To support Jenny’s mission, visit her GoFundMe page.