In our first year, one of the most special things was, and continues to be, building our relationship with Mary Bridge and their Hematology/Oncology Clinic. In working with them, we identified an opportunity to serve the kids and families in their community in a very meaningful way. In 2017, we were thrilled to announce that we started a program called Rachel's Hugs which grants wishes designed to enhance the lives of young cancer fighters at Mary Bridge. Every month we work with the Mary Bridge staff to identify the greatest needs of their patients. Whether it is an iPad to help with schoolwork or distracting games, a pet to keep them company, a bedroom makeover to help provide comfort, or an airline ticket for a member of their family to come visit, we do our best to fulfill the greatest and most urgent needs of these kids and their families. We think this is perfect, because it is another way that we can share Rachel’s love and hope with others, and make these cancer fighting kids feel special – just like she wanted. I think we can say, with confidence, that she would be incredibly happy and proud of the work her foundation has accomplished so far, and that the Rachel’s Hugs program in particular would fill her heart.
Watch this page and our social media pages for stories and pictures of kids and young adults who are chosen to receive a Rachel's Hug!
Meet Our Most Recent Hugs Recipients!
Meet Damien! Damien is 13, lives in Spanaway, and is one of 7 kids in his family! His mom describes him as a great and protective brother to his siblings. His Rachel’s Hugs request was for a new iPhone to replace his very outdated phone so that he can keep in touch with friends while going through treatment, do school work online, and of course, enjoy all the fun distractions that a new phone can offer. We had the privilege of meeting Damien and his mother earlier this month at the Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital Hematology/Oncology clinic and brought him a brand new iPhone XR thanks to a discount from the Apple Store that one of our supporters, Andrew Buttz, was able to help us get! We also provided him with an OtterBox case to help keep the phone protected on his many trips to the hospital and clinic. It is our hope that this phone brings hours of entertainment, and helps Damien feel more connected to his friends and his school as he goes through his treatment for Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Meet Kadence! Kadence is 3 years old, has the most contagious smile, and is full of curiosity! She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in February of 2019. Her family recently moved into a new home in Tacoma and her Rachel's Hugs request was for a bedroom makeover with twin beds for the new bedroom that she and her little sister Soleia recently settled into. Thanks to our partnerships with Miller Paint, Mattress Ranch, Lakewood Hardware & Paint, and Harkness Furniture and to our foundation friends who sponsored special decorations, bedding, and toys for the room, we were able to create a comfy retreat fit for princesses! With mint green walls, the room is complete with twin beds, chests of drawers, a work table, fun accessories, colorful bedding, lamps, toys, books, puzzles, arts and crafts, tutus, ladybug jammies, and more! Kadence said that she loved her room and could not stop smiling as she explored the new puzzles, games and books, and the fun pillows on the bed. Soleia danced with excitement and sang songs for us! We love to picture them having sweet dreams in this cozy new space.
Meet Karla! Karla's application reminded us so much of Rachel. Karla is 15 years old and was just diagnosed Acute Myeloid Leukemia in May. She loves soccer and cheer, music, and Christmas! Karla’s family lives in Tacoma and they spend lots of time with their big, supportive extended family. She loves making and editing movies, movie trailers, and videos using iMovie so her Rachel’s Hugs request was for a MacBook computer since it would be so much easier than working on these projects on her phone. We were so happy to be able to surprise Karla at the hospital with a new MacBook computer and teal case - her favorite color, which of course we love too! She was so shocked to receive this Hug that she couldn't even open the box while we visited, saying that she just needed some time to process what was happening. We could tell by her sweet smile that this computer will provide just the distraction she will need as she continues her fight. Enjoy your computer Karla - we will be watching for your movies. Maybe you will create a Christmas movie this year!
Meet Samantha! Samantha is 19 years old and was excited to be moving out into her own place in Lakewood, starting a job, and embracing her new independence when she received her diagnosis of Lymphoma in December of 2018. Her Rachel's Hugs request was for a shopping spree at Walmart, her go-to store, so that she could buy fun and necessary things to help her make her new place a home. We were thrilled to present her with a Walmart gift card to buy anything she wanted or needed and also gave her some extra surprises including a gift card to Bath and Body Works to select wonderfully scented things to pamper herself with, a canvas with a replication of Rachel's art to decorate her place, brand new makeup thanks to our friends at Thrive Causemetics, and a cheerful bouquet of flowers. She was so grateful and excited and said she planned to go straight to the stores to do some shopping after she left us! We are sure that she found some great treasures that made her smile and feel more settled in her home.
Meet Our 2019 Hugs Recipients!
Meet Avah! Avah is 7 years old and loves to play games and enjoy activities with friends and family at home in Raymond. She was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in 2015 and received a bone marrow transplant 11 months ago. Avah is often limited in being able to go outside, go to school, and visit friend's houses in order to keep her healthy since she is post transplant. Her request was for a gaming system so that she would have something new to play with indoors with family and with friends who visit. We were so excited to present her with a Nintendo Switch with several games and all the needed accessories. We also surprised her with a tub full of art supplies and craft kits for even more indoor fun and some active outdoor games and toys for sunny, summer days. Avah and her little sister were both so excited to play with everything and Avah couldn't stop smiling. We love to think of her smiles now as she plays Mario Kart, creates masterpieces and has a squirt gun fight with her sister and parents on a hot day!
Meet Alondra J! Three year old Alondra was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in May of 2019. She loves pink and purple, Frozen, and Belle! Since she was just ready to transition into a big girl twin bed in her home in Lakewood, her family's Rachel's Hugs request was for a bedroom makeover to create an extra special room for her. We were thrilled to create a cozy retreat fit for a princess complete with a new twin bed with a comfy mattress, pillow and sheets donated by Mattress Ranch, cubbies for toy storage, a new chest of drawers, pink paint donated by Miller Paint, and lots of sparkles! Foundation friends helped by sponsoring colorful bedding, a lamp, lots of fun puzzles and books to fill her cubbies, a pouf, a sparkly tutu, her very own ladybug jammies and more special decorations! When Alondra first saw her new room she had just gotten up from a nap, but after a minute to absorb the transformation, she was all smiles. We love to picture her cozy in her new bed, or playing with toys on her new rug!
Meet Ella! Ella is 14 and loves writing, art and, The Sims. While brainstorming about what she would like, the thought of getting a Macbook brought a "twinkle to her eye" and staff at Mary Bridge Children's Hospital said they "saw a completely different side of her" as she talked about her Hug. We were thrilled to surprise Ella with a brand new Macbook this week thanks to help from Andrew Buttz at Apple! She is now set to start online school in the fall and had The Sims 4 loaded and ready to play when we left. We are so happy that her new MacBook will help with her schoolwork at home in Puyallup and provide a distraction and create smiles as she goes through her treatment and rehabilitation
Meet Angel! Angel is 11 years old and was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia in February of 2019. His Rachel's Hugs request was for a shopping spree to help him feel strong and not like he is fighting cancer. We were so pleased to present him with gift cards to Walmart, Target, Nike Outlet, and Ross - all of his favorite stores - so that he could get new shoes, clothes, games, and more! We also learned that Angel loved Star Wars and the beach, so we surprised him with a Star Wars DVD set, a remote-controlled car that can go right over driftwood and dunes on the beach near his home in Aberdeen, and water guns!! What you can't tell by his sweet smile in the photos is that he was having a tough day when we arrived at the hospital and really wasn't feeling well, but he insisted that we still come in. Angel was so happy and gave us all hugs and wanted a photo of us all together. When we left, he was playing with the remote car, grinning from ear to ear and said his tummy ache was all gone. It makes us grin to think of Angel having fun shopping and playing.
Meet Leighton! Leighton is a sweet 8 year old who has been living with cancer since 2015. She loves art and fashion and hoped for a “shopping spree and spa day” at the American Girl store! We were so excited to have the chance to give her a gift card to the American Girl store in Lynnwood so that she and her family can go enjoy some fun shopping and relaxing. Since she might need some clothes for herself to keep up with her new, stylish doll, we also gave Leighton a gift card for H&M along with a gift card for The Cheesecake Factory so they can grab lunch or dessert during their shopping adventure. And of course, because we know what an important activity art is, we gave her an assortment of fun pens, pencils, paper, art books and other fun supplies to nurture her love of crafting. To top it off, she got a new Husky buddy, Snowball! Leighton couldn't contain her excitement and was full of smiles, giggles, and jumping for joy.
Meet Jaelyn! Jaelyn is 16 years old and has been living with leukemia since she was 12 years old. She will be spending more time at Seattle Children's soon for t-cell therapy and a bone marrow transplant, so she hoped for a new phone for a fun distraction and to stay in touch with her friends and family while she is away from home. Mary had the chance to meet sweet Jaelyn and her family to deliver her new iPhone XR along with an OtterBox case and an Amazon.com gift card for other accessories or anything else she might want! Jaelyn's amazing and joyful spirit, combined with her beautiful smile were so much like Rachel's. We know that her positivity and strength will make whatever comes next so much more bearable. A special thank you goes to Andrew Buttz at Apple for helping us to get the phone and accessories. Take care Jaelyn and enjoy your new phone! We are sending all sorts of good thoughts your way as you continue to write your life's story.
Meet Heliodoro! He is 17 and has been waiting patiently to receive medical clearance to get a puppy for a year and a half. We were so excited to deliver a Doberman puppy to him just in time to celebrate his birthday and one year post bone marrow transplant. When we handed him his puppy, he grinned from ear to ear and said "I'm going to cry!" She made herself right at home on his lap with lots of new toys to play with.
A huge thank you goes to Bill and Pati Lynn for sponsoring the puppy in honor of Margaret Archer and her sweet puppy Betty who recently passed away, BerrienHall Doberman's for helping us get this amazing puppy, Dr. Hale and Dr. Martin at Soundview Veterinary Hospital in Tacoma for donating their services, Dog Daze Natural Pet Market for the food and pet supplies, Evan and Keeley Mauro for the toys and treats, and to those of you who donated toward a PetSmart gift card. We are so grateful to all of you for helping make this Hug a reality!
Meet Brian! Brian is 19 years old and hoped for a new cell phone to help him stay in contact with friends and family and provide distraction as he spends a lot of time away from home due his cancer treatment and impacts from a recent surgery. Mary and Nate had the chance to meet Brian and his parents at the hospital and deliver a new iPhone XR along with an OtterBox case and an Amazon gift card for other accessories or anything else he would like! Brian's strength and positive attitude were inspiring and his smile warmed our hearts. A special thank you goes to Andrew Buttz at Apple for helping us get the phone and accessories. Take care Brian and enjoy your new phone!
Meet Oona! Oona is 2 years old and she and her sisters love animals so her Mom suggested a trip to a petting zoo and maybe even a carriage ride! Thanks to the generosity of Debbie Dolittle's indoor petting zoo, Oona and her family and friends were able to experience their own private experience at the indoor petting zoo complete with goat and kangaroo snuggles, snacks, cupcakes, and fun animal masks. And because princesses should only travel in style, we were so excited to meet Tammy at Country Wagon who helped us gift Oona a horse and carriage ride that was fit for Cinderella. To top it off, she returned to a cozy campfire, roasted marshmallows, and a tour of the farm to meet the animals (Oona was fond of the kittens!) We also made sure to include a basket full of cozy blankets, books, puzzles, stuffies, and a membership to Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium for many more visits with animals. Keep smiling and have fun, Oona!
Meet Angelina! She is 14 and loves dogs, cooking, shopping, getting her nails done, and getting her teeth cleaned. Angelina's request was for a Yorkie puppy to help lift her spirits and keep her company as she battles cancer. When we were establishing the Hugs program and were thinking of Hugs that we could grant, a puppy was one of the first ideas we thought of. We know how important Rachel's puppy was for her and her mental health. Thanks to Bobbi and William of Cabana Babies for graciously assisting us, Angelina got her very own puppy, Tilly, last night complete with food, treats, toys, and gift cards for the pet store and vet! Angelina immediately hugged Tilly when they met and we knew it was a match made in heaven. Enjoy your new buddy, Angelina - we know you'll be the best of friends.
Stay tuned for more great stories about cancer-fighting kids and young adults and how we're bringing smiles to their faces through the Rachel's Hugs Program!