Cape Cod students make special gift boxes for cancer patients

HYANNIS, Mass. — Jacqueline Sastry, Kate Donahue and Raquel Collins are juniors at Sturgis West Charter School in Hyannis. They recently started a student club, called Treats For Treatment.

“Knowing you have a huge impact on someone’s life and you have the power to make someone’s day even just a little better than it initially started,” Collins said.

The 17-year-old girls make special care packages for cancer patients undergoing radiation treatment at Clark Cancer Center at Falmouth Hospital. Each reusable box is individually decorated and filled with all sorts of comforting items that help lift a patient’s spirit, including things like chapstick, books, soaps, hand creams, candles, blankets and ginger chews.

“Just about anything that will help brighten their day make them feel better, take their minds off their treatment and their struggles,” Sastry said.

The girls shop for items at various stores on the Cape and some local companies also donate products. They then deliver them to Donahue’s mother, Carrie, who is a radiation therapist at Falmouth Hospital, who surprises patients with homemade gift boxes.

“She actually told me patients react to them they start crying and it’s this huge special thing they never expected. It just lifts their entire spirits through the rest of the treatment process,” Donahue said.

The girls also add in a hand-written note in each of the patient’s boxes saying they picked out the items especially for them. So far, they have delivered 40 boxes and hope to expand to Cape Cod Hospital.

The girls also raise money by selling jewelry on their Instagram page.