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How Can I Cheer Up Someone in the Hospital?

For today's Giving Tuesday blog, I've invited my sister Sarah, a survivor of Acute Myeloid Leukemia and a Bone Marrow Transplant, to tell you the UPLIFTING story of her private charity, The Zinnia Project. We've created an easy way for you to make a BEAUTIFUL difference for hospitalized blood cancer patients - read on!

Sarah Warner Lister (left) and Kerstin Rao (right) are sisters who are helping hospitalized blood cancer patients in Lexington, Kentucky have a touch of cheer this holiday season through The Zinnia Project.

by Sarah Warner Lister

As many of you know, I am dedicated to helping other cancer patients like me feel seen and understood.

For Giving Tuesday today, I'm introducing you to my amazing sister, Kerstin Rao, founder of Vivid Cottage. She was a rockstar caregiver when I was sick, and six years later we are collaborating on a colorful project to deliver cheer to hospitalized blood cancer patients. With one click, you can help make this possible!

It’s hard to describe how bleak it is to be hospitalized during the holidays. The good news is Kerstin and I have teamed up to bring colorful (and huggable) comfort to patients. We are asking YOU to be part of this uplifting project!

I started The Zinnia Project, a privately run charitable effort (donations are not tax-deductible), to deliver cheer to patients on the bone marrow transplant wing at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center Hospital. I am forever grateful for the care I received there while undergoing two grueling rounds of in-patient chemotherapy and a life-saving bone marrow transplant in 2016.

From my hospital bed, I dreamt of a patient outreach program that I later named “The Zinnia Project” after the most resilient and brightest flowers I know.

All year long The Zinnia Project delivers gifts, care and comfort items which have been carefully curated based my personal experience.

Where does Vivid Cottage come in? My incredibly talented sister drew a vibrant and cheerful bouquet of Zinnias for me, and the image is now part of gifts for patients and caregivers.

Did you know blood cancer patients are not allowed to have live plants or flowers in their rooms because their immune system is so compromised? It made my hospital stay feel so cold and grey. This is why Kerstin and I invented 'a bouquet you can hug.'

We need donors like you who can give $25 to sponsor a cheerful, huggable Zinnia pillow to every hospitalized adult blood cancer patient at UK Hospital’s Blood Cancer / BMT floor. They are people just like me, and could really use some cheer during the holidays!

Our Zinnia pillows are:

* washable

* double-sided

* 100% cotton

* made entirely in the USA

* a simple, easy way to brighten a hospitalized person's day

The holidays are about sharing gratitude and showing our love for others. Please click this link to support cancer patients today… and better yet, become a donor AND share with your friends! Thank you!


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