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Three young Girl Scouts needed a badge and Elizabeth Diener, a Sharp Chula Vista Medical Center volunteer, needed help. It was a perfect match when the girls — Elizabeth, age 12; Aiyana, age 9; and Jennifer, age 9 — approached Diener about a project they wanted to complete in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts.
In order to earn a special commemorative badge, the girls needed to make or do 100 of something. They could have planted flowers or made paper cranes, but they wanted to do something that would make a difference as well as teach them a new skill, so they asked Diener if they could help her create head coverings for patients at the Douglas & Nancy Barnhart Cancer Center at Sharp Chula Vista in exchange for sewing lessons.
Diener, who has volunteered at Sharp Chula Vista since 2009, was ecstatic. She learned to sew from her grandmother as a child, and has made approximately 1,000 head coverings for patients who have lost their hair because of cancer treatment. While many of her creations are given to patients at Sharp Chula Vista, she has shared others with people across the world.
Diener and the girls worked on the head coverings, which included scarves and stretch-knit caps, from October through December. One week before Christmas, they delivered their final batch to the Barnhart Cancer Center for Mimma Fonti, a volunteer and organizer of the hospital's Look Good Feel Better Program, to distribute to patients.
To express her personal gratitude for the donation, Fonti, along with Barnhart Cancer Center Manager Lorna McGrory, took the girls on a tour of the Barnhart Cancer Center so they could see the positive effects of their work. At the end, each girl was given a ceramic guardian angel that was donated by a grateful patient.
"Taking the girls on a tour was a good opportunity to show them the rewards of doing something nice for people who are dealing with the side effects of cancer treatment," Fonti said.
"I'm proud to have been able to share something that's special to me with these Girl Scouts," Diener added. "It makes me happy that we were able to help each other help others."
For More Cancer Care Information
To contact the Barnhart Cancer Center, please call 619-502-5851. To contact the main hospital, please call 619-502-5800. To learn more about cancer services at Sharp, visit Cancer Treatment.
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