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Friday, Apr 6, 2018

10-year-old girl donates care packages to cancer center as thank you for care mother received

BRISTOL, Va. – At only 10 years old, Zhoie Monk is making a difference in so many lives.

When her mother was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2017 and began receiving chemotherapy, Zhoie saw how simple acts of kindness made her mom smile. That inspired her to begin collecting donations to put together special care packages for other cancer patients at Ballad Health’s cancer treatment center in Bristol, which is where her mother received her chemotherapy.

“I am doing this because the people at the cancer center were so nice to my mom when she was nervous the first time she went for chemotherapy,” Zhoie said. “When she was talking to all the people in the lobby, they were saying, ‘There is nothing scary back there,’ and she wasn’t nervous when she went back. They helped her and I want to help others too.”

The 10-year-old worked hard, and through community donations, she collected enough items to create 70 individual care packages for the patients, in honor of her mom.

Each care package was adorned with a handwritten note from Zhoie that stated, “Hope this makes you happier and less full of fear. My mom went through this just like you. She was treated so good at the cancer center. I made these bags because I want you to be happy. We are praying for you.” At the bottom, she quotes Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ, who strengthens me.”

The care packages were filled with items like a puzzle book, a calendar, hand lotion, hand sanitizer, lip balm, a notebook, tissues, gum, candy and pens. There were also throw blankets in 50 of them and jewelry for women in 25 of them. In addition to the care packages, Zhoie was able to fill boxes, bowls and other bags with snacks for patients while they’re at the facility.

“It’s overwhelming and great and makes me cry every time I think about it,” said Kellie Monk, Zhoie’s mother. “She’s a good girl who does a lot of things for people, and we’re very proud of her.”

Zhoie began collecting donations on Valentine’s Day, when she played the starring role in a video posted to her mom’s personal Facebook page. In this video, which received 2,000 views and 29 shares, she outlined her plan to collect items for cancer center patients and asked for help.

The donations came pouring in, allowing Zhoie to create the care packages and deliver them to patients.

“It’s incredible how much this type of support lifts our patients,” said Tiffany Ratcliff, the cancer center’s practice manager. “They’re appreciative, and I’m grateful the center has this much of an impact on patients and family members. Cancer is a life-changing diagnosis, and when patients know the community is standing behind them, they are even more motivated to beat it.”

Shortly before Zhoie’s special delivery, her mom – Kellie – had a follow-up appointment at the cancer center, and got the news she had been hoping for: she was cancer-free. 

“I am blessed in so many ways,” said Kellie. “Not only is my cancer gone, but I have an absolutely amazing daughter with a heart of gold who does whatever she can to help others. I am so proud to be her mom.”

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