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State Honoree

Zachary Ellis

Oregon

Zachary Ellis, 10, of Portland, Ore., a fifth-grader at Maplewood Elementary, asked for donations of art, craft and project supplies (instead of gifts) for his 10th birthday, in order to provide 45 “Chemo Pal” activity packs to hospitalized children suffering from cancer. Inspired by memories of his sister Alex, who died of cancer in 1995, Zachary wanted to help other hospitalized children. “When Alex felt sad and alone we brought her a smile when we did projects in her hospital bedroom,” Zachary said. After obtaining a list of needed supplies from the Children’s Cancer Association (an organization begun by Zachary’s family in Alex’s honor), Zachary asked 30 friends to bring art supplies, crafts and other items instead of presents to his birthday party. After the party he organized the supplies, then delivered two huge boxes to the Chemo Pal program. More than 45 sick children and teens benefited from Zachary’s special birthday party. “I learned that a good idea is a lot of work, but it’s worth it,” he said.