ROXBURY, NJ – Often, it’s the little things that count. So three Roxbury High School students - prompted by a teacher to “give back” to the community - are gathering lots of little things to give to kids with cancer.
The students, senior Madison Ketch, senior Jessica Marie Bartelloni and junior Gabby Keuscher, formed an organization called Project Glow Gold “to give hope, love and strength to children fighting cancer,” Ketch said.
“We collect items and sort them into small baskets and care packages,” said the Kenvil resident. “All packages are then given to children 18 years of age or younger who are undergoing chemotherapy treatments. It is our goal to give these children something to look forward to and to brighten their days.”
Ketch, 17, said she and her friends are not seeking big monetary donations, just simple things that kids fighting cancer can use, such as coloring books, crayons, fuzzy socks, lip balm, anti-nausea wristbands, magazines, books, puzzles, reusable water bottles, stress balls and chewing gum.
She said the idea came after her English teacher, Jonathan Benbow, instituted a class project that allows students to spend 20 percent of their time working on projects to help the community. Benbow is also coach of the Roxbury High School ice hockey team.
“We started very small,” Ketch said. “But then we decided it would be best to broaden it and get it out to the community and see how far we can make it.”
A Great Reaction
It didn’t take long for Project Glow Gold to get traction. Within several days, the teens “had so much positive feedback and so many people willing to help, we want to make it bigger and better,” Ketch said.
The trio made a website and Facebook page and began by inviting their friends to spread the word online. “We’ve had a bunch of shares and likes and comments,” Ketch said. “People are sharing our story with their friends. Everyone is contacting us.”
She said she was motivated to help youngsters with cancer because she has a friend whose little sister died, at 10, from cancer. “It basically sparked our interest to help kids … with cancer who don’t necessarily have the things we have and the ability to do the things we do,” said Ketch, who is a member of Girl Scouts Troop 660.
She said the items being collected, “little stuff just to take the edge off the kids and what they are going through,” will be given to patients 18 and younger at hospitals including St. Jude’s and Saint Barnabas.
“We are setting up delivery boxes around town,” Ketch said. “We are having a bunch of people donate their stores and provide places for people to drop off donations. A bunch of churches are going to set up donation boxes and give out papers (about the effort).
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