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Why Kids’ Care Packets for Cancer Patients Won’t Stop Now

February 28, 2018

They say it takes a village, and sometimes it’s the smallest villagers who make the biggest difference. Take 10-year-old Ava Benson of Mansfield, for example.

After watching her mother Alicia go through treatment for breast cancer at Windham Hospital, the two talked about giving back to the hospital and helping others facing the same arduous journey.

“After getting amazing support from family, friends and community during my year of surgeries and treatments, I felt overwhelmed to pay it forward,” Alicia Benson says.

Two handmade cards.She and Ava talked with some friends and together came up with the idea of creating care packets for cancer patient To finance the project, they decided to host a Kid’s Cook-Off fundraiser. In October, the group – which includes Alicia’s friends, Shelley Manning and Millie Brousseau; Ava’s pals, 10-year-old Emma Frost and 8-year-old Vanessa Manning; and Alicia’s 13-year-old son, Jeremy – recruited 20 kids to participate.

The Kid’s Cook-Off, held at the Mansfield Academy of Dance, featured a variety of foods and desserts to be tasted and judged. The event raised more than $1,000.

“This was truly a community event. It was amazing!” Alicia says.

With the earnings, the girls picked up Walgreens gift cards and created photo collage cards emblazoned with photos of their pets, words of encouragement and a note from Alicia about her journey and some tips on getting through treatment. In all, they made about 50 care packets that were delivered to Windham Hospital for patients.

They aren’t stopping there, either. The group is already planning another fundraiser later this year and are coordinating weekly care packet deliveries for the family of a local person battling cancer.

“We plan to find ways to raise money each year and continuing to support locals in need,” Alicia says.