The Gracie Project
This year, I had the opportunity to really use my reach into the public and do something so rewarding. I had the chance to team up with the incredible Jessica Carey, who is the face behind The Hook Nook, to use our reach on social media to create a call of action. Beginning in September, we have been collecting handmade crochet and knit beanies and stuffed dolls, otherwise known as amigurumi. These handmade items were for the children in the oncology units in the children's hospitals around Portland, Oregon! However, there was one little girl who was the main focus of this project, and her name is Gracie! Thus, The Gracie Project was created.
Gracie Smith is a darling and active 2 1/2 year old little girl based out of Forest Grove, OR. Her parents had first noticed a “glow” in her right eye as well as the eye beginning to stray to the right. After taking her in to the doctor to be checked, that is when they came to find out that this sweet girl had a rare cancer called Retinoblastoma.
Soon after her diagnosis, she and her mother flew to Philadelphia where she went through surgery to remove her eye which contained ten tumors. Today, Gracie has her “magic eye”, which is her prosthetic eye. She cannot see out of her “magic eye”, but her mother, Elly, said that this whole situation has not affected Gracie and she is quite the fighter.
The response to this charity was beyond words. As time went on and people were able to gather their hooks and needles, donations starting pouring in and Jessica and I were receiving boxes worth of goodies at a time. Each item that we received was absolutely insane. Doing this type of thing brought so much joy to us; it's so incredible that people will trust complete strangers on the Internet, rally together, and change the lives of others.
Great news really occurred when we learned that Gracie is now cancer FREE! On top of that awesome news, we received about 1000 items from across the globe. We received donations from all over the states, Canada, and even the U.K. When we had the chance to donate the items, it was the largest that Randall's Children's Hospital had ever received and we were told that this amount of donations in this volume would be able to last them the ENTIRE year!! To top off this wonderful news, Jessica and I also had the chance to hand out a few goodies to some children in the lobby. Even while fighting for their lives, these children's hearts still radiate with gold. One little boy asked if he was allowed to have more so he could bring something to his sister as well.
This entire experience has truly opened my eyes and makes me feel so grateful to live in a world like this. The amount of sheer kindness so many people put into to this project still leaves me baffled. To me, this type of thing really does make it easier to call this world "home". It gives me hope, and I hope it gives hope to everyone reading this as well; there is so much good in this world that can be easily overlooked with the problems of this world. I am so happy to be apart of a community like this. With Gracie becoming cancer free and so many donations and kindness, The Gracie Project was an absolute success.