PAA Seniors Help Cancer Patients

Heidi Schnosig and Samantha Hamilton, Portland Adventist Academy seniors, knew they needed to complete a senior project to graduate. Hamilton had lost two close relatives to cancer, and both girls wanted to make a difference going beyond just earning a grade. What resulted was a service program bringing both girls closer to Jesus, and helping change the lives of more than 1,000 children.

The girls made many phone calls, sought advice, and launched a campaign to raise money to help fund some projects at Emmanuel Children's Hospital in Portland, Ore. By writing letters, selling Beanie Babies, and raising money at the annual PAA auction, they raised more than $11,000. The money was used to fund three programs.

The Alexandria Ellis Center, named for a child who died from cancer, received $5,000. The money specifically helped fund the cancer resource center, which gives parents access to computer information and books on cancer and cancer therapy. Additional money went to help pay for the Christmas party for Emmanuel Children's cancer patients. More than 300 volunteers provided gifts and food for more than 1,000 children.

The remaining $6,000 was distributed between two programs. The Journey Beads program provides a bead for each milestone in a child's therapy. Some children have bead chains that are more than 10 feet long. The Hip Hats program provides hats with attached wigs for the children who are bald as a result of undergoing chemotherapy. The support of Schnosig and Hamilton paid for the Journey Beads program for the next 18 months and the Hip Hats program for the next three years.

Both girls were so inspired, they continue volunteering each week at Emmanuel Children's cancer unit. More than learning about business, cancer, networking and hospitals, Schnosig and Hamilton agree the most important lesson they learned was about their Christian walk. They realize how fortunate they are to enjoy good health, and understand the difference Christian service can make.

March 01, 2008 / Oregon Conference