Joah Royer started "Joah's Pink Bags of Hope" for cancer patients.
An inspirational story than came out of bad news and heart break. A middle school student in Ft. Pierre, with a little help from her mom, is making sure people in her community going cancer get something to remind them someone cares. Nancy Naeve introduces us to the Joah behind "Joah's Pink Bags of hope."
For the last year this little girl's smile has become contagious, what's she's doing is nothing less than remarkable. For a few reasons: her compassion, her generosity and her age. Joah Royer is only 12 years old and lives in Ft. Pierre. She started "Joah's Pink Bags of Hope" when her Grandma was diagnosed with brain cancer last October. Joah started bringing her things in the hospital during chemo treatments to help brighten her spirits, but then felt badly "everyone" in the infusion suite wasn't getting one too. This happened right after Joah watched her grandpa die from brain cancer.
"If somebody else didn't have family members who could make it and give them stuff then I could give them something," Joah said.
"It's such a positive approach. It helps be a distraction from the worry and stress from having cancer because it's stressful, very stressful, "Joah's Grandma Deb Haka said.
In the beginning she used her tooth fairy money to buy all the goodies. She has what she calls the necessities; chap stick, hard candy, handy wipes, journals, games and then the fun stuff like tension balls, pens, socks, and silly straws. All of it goes in a pink bag (her favorite color), all hand picked by her and hand delivered by her. Mom helps with the driving.
"She just wants to make sure all patients who are getting chemo have a smile on their face and to know that people are cheering for them and spreading hope, " Joah's mom Sonia Royer said.
Joah's journey has gone full circle. A lot of the patients she helped have turned around and helped her "shine on" by donating money and/or supplies. She plans to keep doing this until all cancer patients, all over, get bags.
"It's amazing feeling, as a parent you want your kids dreams to come true and out of all the dreams she wants to help people. I couldn't be more proud," Sonia said.
One bag at a time, Joah is restoring our faith for the future. Can you imagine what's ahead for her, the Pierre area and the state once she gets her driver's license? I know we haven't seen the last of Joah Royer.
Joah's grandma is also a breast cancer survivor, but was given three months to live last October when she was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2012. She is doing miraculously. If you want to help donate to Joah's Pink Bags of Hope you can on their Facebook page or any Wells Fargo bank, just mention Joah's name.
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