Larned student collects items for Heartland Cancer Center patients

The assignment was called the Do Hard Things Project and cancer patients came to mind right away.

I am friends with a family in town whose son is battling leukemia, Burris said. As they talked about his treatments and what he has to endure, I felt like I wanted to do something for him.

As I started the process, the high school junior continued, I began to realize that cancer has touched everyone in some way or another. This was a project most people could relate to.

Burris then set about collecting items that patients at Heartland Cancer Center would enjoy things that would make their day a little brighter as they receive treatment.

My softball team also sold tee-shirts for our annual Pack the Park event and donated a portion of the proceeds to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society in my friends name, Burris said.

The list of items was compiled after Burris talked with Jamie Hutchinson, director of the cancer center. Jamie helped me come up with a list of items for the patients, Burris said. She and everyone else at the cancer center were very kind and helpful.

Burris collected puzzle books, hand lotion, scarves, paperback books, lip balm, fuzzy socks, tissues and other things patients could use.

The response from the community was overwhelming, Burris commented. People were very generous and receptive.

Everyone seemed to have a story to share and wanted to help.

I learned so much by doing this project the process it takes to get a project off the ground and the steps that need to be taken, she added. I also learned a lot about my community and its generosity. When someone you care about has cancer, you feel helpless. This project made me feel as if I could make a difference, at least for a moment, in their lives.

Hutchinson noted that patients truly appreciate the donations and she had high praise for Burris.

I am always impressed when a young student takes the time and energy to put their heart into a project to enhance the lives of our patients at Heartland, Hutchinson said. I was even more impressed when Reaghan walked in with two large boxes full of all kinds of goodies.

She had such a wonderful story to tell about why she chose this project, Hutchinson added. It is very difficult to find someone whose life has not been touched by cancer and, therefore, Reaghan has touched most peoples hearts.

Heartland Cancer Center is part of the St. Rose Ambulatory & Surgery Center family.