Although 250 miles separate ten-year-old Kinley Strohl and nine-year-old Jace Gribbins, one devastating disease brings them together: cancer. Kinley was diagnosed with leukemia in 2011 while Jace was diagnosed with a rare form of soft tissue cancer in November 2014. Both of these youth know all too well how hard it is to spend countless hours in the hospital undergoing cancer treatments. They also know what a difference it makes to have some fun activities to offer distraction from the daunting task of battling cancer.
Childhood cancer has brought more than just treatments, doctor visits, and missed school days to Kinley and Jace. It has brought them both on a mission to give back to pediatric cancer patients just like themselves. Kinley started a project called “Kinley’s Crafts” to collect craft items to de donated to pediatric patients to help them pass the time during hospital stays. The idea was born from her own experience using crafts to find some relief from the boredom of spending numerous days in the hospital.
Jace is finding joy in giving back as well through his “Operation: Christmas Smiles” project. When Jace was released from the hospital a few days before Christmas in 2014, he was disheartened to think about all of the other children who would be spending the holiday in the hospital. Operation: Christmas Smiles is his way of rounding up toys for pediatric hospital patients during the holidays.
Both Kinley and Jace used Red Basket to raise money to support their projects to give back to pediatric patients. In total they raised $635. According to the Kinley’s Krafts Facebook page, Kinley has spent her money wisely. She was up at 6:00 am to hit up some Black Friday sales and has surpassed her goal of donating 100 craft kits to Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. She will deliver the crafts on Wednesday.
Jace is also proud to report via his Facebook page (Jace’s Journey) that he has delivered three loads of toys to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He even inspired one five-year-old boy to donate the toys he received at his birthday party to Jace’s cause.
On behalf of Kinley, Jace, and the many children who will be spending the holidays in the hospital with a new toy or craft, we would like to thank you for your support of these projects. If you’re inspired by Kinley and Jace, you may wish to support the current Red Basket project called Boys 4 Bikes featuring more youth who are on a mission to give back.