Fifth Graders Provide Blankets, Money For Kids Battling Cancer

Students Enlist Senior Citizens To Help Accomplish Goal

What began as an educational competition exercise has evolved into much more for a group of Denver fifth graders.

"It's fabulous. They care and that's the main thing," said volunteer June Green.

The program is called 4 Hearts 4 Help. The team’s goal is providing blankets for children battling cancer, and financial support for their families.

"A lot of kids survive cancer, but when they get out their families are in a big financial issue," said Samantha, a fifth grader at Bromwell Elementary.

The four-person team realized they would not be able to make enough blankets to meet their goals, so they enlisted the help of industrious seniors from Highlands West and Highlands South senior citizen apartment communities.

“I was just inspired by their vision to help other kids who were ill,” said Wayne Ewing, a volunteer blanket maker. “How often do people in their 70’s and 80’s get to collaborate with kids who have a vision?”

“We enjor being together and sharing our talents and love, and just extending it to the community,” Green said. “Because look at these young people, they are our leaders for tomorrow.”

The volunteers make fleece blankets, which then are sponsored by donors for $25 each. "And the blankets that they sponsor go to a kid with cancer," said Abigail, a fifth grader at Bromwell Elementary.

The donations are then distributed to families through the Raymond Wentz Foundation, which gives unrestricted grants to cancer patients struggling to meet basic daily needs.

The inspiration behind the kids’ mission is Willa Fischer, a neighbor of team member Ava, who died at just three years old from a tumor inside her skull.

“Willa and Ava were good friends,” said Stacy Fischer, Willa’s mother and board member of the Raymond Wentz Foundation. “It’s amazing what the kids have accomplished.”

Recently the 4 Hearts 4 Help team presented their first $1,000 check to the family of Josiah Cisneros. The four-year-old is currently undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia.

“It takes a really big financial toll because I'm constantly with him. I can't really work right now," said Alyna Cisneros, Josiah’s mother. "Thank you guys so much. We really do appreciate it.”

"It feels really good to be able to help someone who needs a little bit more than you do," Ava said.

The project began as a community outreach project for the national Destination Imagination competition. But regardless of the contest outcome, the students are already winners. The fifth-grade philanthropists plan to continue helping kids with cancer for many years to come.

"Definitely, all four of us have fallen in love with this project, and we want to continue," Samantha said.

For more information about 4 Hearts 4 Help, click here.

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