Madeline Domian, 12, of Fenton, Mo., a sixth-grader at Rockwood South Middle School, mobilized her whole school to help her create care kits for children undergoing chemotherapy in honor of a beloved aunt who died from cancer in September 2015. After her Aunt Katie-Do was diagnosed, Madeline and her sister sold cookies at their neighborhood garage sale and donated the proceeds to the American Cancer Society. When her aunt died, “I thought to myself: What can I do to keep her memory alive?” said Madeline. “I remembered how hard chemo treatments were for her, and I thought no kid should have to go through that.”
Madeline researched the needs of children in chemotherapy and then asked her principal if she could get her school’s students involved in making “chemo care kits.” With the help of a counselor and her school’s leadership team, she kicked off a school-wide drive with a PowerPoint presentation to the entire student body. Madeline requested items to help kids deal with the side effects of chemotherapy (such as lip balm, lotion and hand sanitizer), keep them comfortable (socks, hats and blankets), and keep them busy (games, toys and puzzles). “Everyone thought it was a great idea, and donations started piling in,” said Madeline. After enough items were collected, students helped assemble 50 kits and deliver them to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. Madeline now delivers 30 kits a month; to date, she and her helpers have put together 450 kits for kids battling cancer.