One of a Very Few
How We Began
This 8 Year Old Pennsylvania Philanthropist Taught Us to Give Freely By Pursuing Her Lofty Goal to Give 2,500 Boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to Those Who Could Use Something to Brighten Their Day.
Shortly after this first "bulk gift distribution" as we call it, correspondence from the gift recipients began to pour in. It didn't take long to realize that Sierra's gift giving efforts were the start of something much bigger. She has touched the lived of many others, through her gift giving efforts, and the families wanted to learn more about young Sierra, just as much as suppose they also wanted to experience and confirm that genuine love for others can really come from an absolute stranger - a stranger that listens and gives without passing judgement...
Within days, the families shared their stories with us and our hearts began to weep. The one child's journey and story that changed life as we knew it, came from a young boy, just a year younger than Sierra, who had a form of brain cancer. His name was Jacob, and he, and his brothers, were among our first hundred children to receive a gift bag of cheer from Sierra's wish to bring smiles to kids with cancer in Feb of 2012.
Sierra Asks Friends & Family to SAVE A LIFE of young friend, Jacob Grecco, back in 2012. Jacob was to receive eternal life in Heaven shortly thereafter. Many others like Jacob are in need of cheer,
We believed Jacob was to be the one child to prove to the world that Miracles do happen. Know we know, without a doubt, that Miracles DO happen. Jacob's miracle was not what we had believed it to be. His was twofold (at least from what we could perceive)... Jacob's miracle was to show us that people from all over the world (those who are complete strangers really) could open their hearts and help a total stranger in need. It restored our faith in the world and in others. Jacob's other miracle, was our answer to prayer, to live life, just not in the way we were thinking... Jacob was to have eternal life in Heaven, a life, according to the bible, that would be better and more beautiful that anything we could ever imagine...
Jacob's family has raised and received enough money to get him to Germany, and he did receive a few of the experimental treatments that we all thought would save his life. After a few treatments, Jacob did do something he hadn't done in a long time, he walked. He amazed his mother and others by walking further than he had in months without help. Things were looking as though the treatment would be successful. But, for one reason, or another, Jacob's Miracle of life here on earth was not to be. And, although, it was difficult to understand, and even complete strangers found themselves grieving for someone they really didn't know, in the end, it was a life defining moment that we all did what we could to help save a life. Perhaps, that life, wasn't really Jacob's...
so, after knowing the story of Jacob, one might ask why? Why give to what one might say is a lost cause? Here's what we want you to know: Miracles do happen. Others do go on to have long productive and happy lives. Donating makes a HUGE difference, whether or not, a child may live or die. The thing is, at least we have done our part. To do nothing, is to turn your back on a person in a position that you may be in one day. This could be you needing help for your child... Or you, needing support for yourself. Wouldn't you want others to help you? That's why we are here. This is part of the message and miracle of Jacob we believe God wanted us to get and act upon. To do something and help others.
Shortly thereafter, Gifts of Cheer was incorporated and received status as a 501(c)3 National Non Profit Organization. To date, we've reached thousands of people with our messages of hope, inspiration, and happy thoughts.
If you, or someone you know, could use a bit of cheer, please use the following link to receive our free services.
The plan to was raise funds and pediatric cancer awareness for Jacob. Sierra had decided that with the help of friends, they would make headbands and other small crafts to be given in exchange for donations. Although Sierra, her friends, and family worked very hard to raise money for Jacob, profits didn't excess the expense of the materials purchased to hold a booth at a local carnival. So, we agreed to do what any caring person would do: we donated every penny that was donated to us. We were just short of $400, so we added a few extra pennies to make the difference.
It was Jacob and his family that helped us realize that our path was to help others... Sierra's initial gift giving efforts were really just the beginning of something bigger, something still unknown to us, that God was calling us to do: help bring cheer and support to those in need. And, even despite everyone's best efforts, Jacob did not live to see his next birthday. His death was a blow to everyone who knew him and wanted to help.
Jacob's last hope at life was to get to Germany to receive experimental treatment, and we were being asked to save a life. How could we say no? No was not an option for us. How had we grown so attached to a family that we only knew through emails, facebook, our gift giving, cards, and perhaps a phone call or two... Why did we feel so compelled to act and help, to do more than what most people would do? It's difficult for us to even understand, yet we found ourselves thinking, "What if this was our child and we needed help?" How would we feel? What it feel like if we failed? Failure wasn't an option. So, we knew, we were faced with a choice: to help, or not.
The latter of the two would have simpler, and I suppose many people did just that, but when Sierra was asked if she wanted to get involved and ask her friends and community to help this young NJ boy and his family, the decision came without hesitation. Within minutes, Sierra had a plan in place, and we began to volunteer our time and efforts to save a life. (The video below is a much dated video of how Sierra asks others for help of her young friend Jacob)... Please read on...
Just as Jacob's family was amazed by the generosity of Sierra, we were amazed by Jacob's family with their efforts to find a cure for pediatric brain cancer. This family participated in numerous fundraisers, never keeping any of the proceeds to help themselves get through the numerous days of lost income and mounting medical and other travel expenses related to Jacob's care, but was determined and donated all the monies they raised to pediatric brain cancer research.
After more than a year of keeping in touch Jacob and his family, praying for them daily, we learned devastating news: Jacob was to be placed on palative care, despite his strong desire to fight his cancer and live. Needless to say, our hearts sank. Yet, within a few days, everything changed. Excellent news came for Jacob and his family! Doctors in Germany felt his life could be saved by an experimental treatment they were having success with in cases similar to Jacob's. The catch was he needed to be in Germany, not NJ, and every moment was critical for a successful treatment. Yet, this family who had so generously given to others, now needed $25,000 to save their son's life.
One of the very first videos of Sierra asking others to kids and grown ups alike to help kids with cancer with hair donations, fundraising, giving toy donations, and volunteering time. To donate today to Sierra's cause: Gifts of Cheer, click here.
Gifts of Cheer began with the efforts of an 8 year old named Sierra from Berks County, Pennsylvania, who wanted to bring smiles to others with the gift of her Girl Scout Cookies. Shortly thereafter, Sierra had given more than 100 gift bags filled with almost 200 boxes of girl scout cookies that she had raised money for, along with many other misc. toys, stickers, activity books, and crayons to kids with cancer.
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