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Welcome to a heart-felt corner of  Vivid Cottage - The Zinnia Project.

Sarah Lister, founder of The Zinnia Project.jpg

Hi, I'm Sarah, Kerstin's 'much younger (wink)' sister.


In 2016, I was quite unexpectedly diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and my life was saved by a bone marrow transplant. After 127 days in the hospital, I realized that many patients are isolated with little or no support during their stay. I was overwhelmed with gratitude for the (literally) hundreds of people who helped me and my family.


To give back, I founded The Zinnia Project in 2017, a privately run charitable effort to deliver cheer to blood cancer patients and their caregivers. I offer several gifts including welcome bags for newly-admitted patients, larger baskets of toiletries and supplies for an extended hospital stay, and an art therapy coloring kit. 


One thing I never knew was blood cancer patients cannot have any live plants or flowers in their hospital room. My sister helped me create pillows with a hand-illustrated Zinnia bouquet, so now patients can have a safe and lovely 'bouquet they can hug.' This holiday season, each hospitalized adult blood cancer patient at the University of Kentucky will receive one of the hand-illustrated Zinnia pillows.

Please select from the options below. Be sure to write in the PayPal notes the name and street address of each person you are honoring with your gift. If you have any questions, please email Sarah at


$25 - Sponsor ten colorful art therapy coloring kits for patients and their caregivers to enjoy.

Zinnia Project baskets for blood cancer patients.jpg

$50 - Sponsor five “Mini Zinnie” patient welcoming kits that include a supply of toiletries and comfort items.

Super-organized Sarah has baskets ready to roll.jpg

$100 - Sponsor a Large Patient Basket full of comfort bedside essentials and art supplies for special patients who have limited resources and support.

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Want to donate a different amount to help fund the continuation of Zinnia Projects in 2023? Great! More info below.

Sisters Sarah Lister and Kerstin Rao in 2016.jpeg

When my little sister Sarah was diagnosed with a life-threatening blood cancer in 2016, I flew down to Kentucky every chance I could get. We all circled around Sarah as she was treated for 120 straight days at the Markey Cancer Center at the University of Kentucky.


Every day since is a ‘bonus day’ filled with blessings and gratitude. Sarah remembers how lonely it was on the hospital ward, so she started The Zinnia Project - hand-curated baskets of gifts to meet the specific needs of the patients and their caregivers.


Donors to Sarah’s Zinnia Project lift her spirit every single day, and make a meaningful difference to patients fighting for their lives. 



Sarah Lister, 2213 Shannawood Drive, Lexington, KY 40513

(Please write ‘Zinnia Project’ in memo line)




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The Zinnia Project is not a 501(c)3 organization. Gifts are not tax-deductible.



When you buy a Zinnia Card from the Vivid Cottage shop 10% of the profit goes to help my Sarah's wonderful efforts. I’m so proud of my little sister and so humbled to help her bring comfort and joy to patients and their caregivers…

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