Cancer is a disease many are affected by, whether it’s because they know someone who has it or have heard about it. Some have even fought the battle themselves.
Sixth grader Kylie Brigman at Little Falls Community Middle School (LFCMS), had a glimpse into what her grandma went through when she had cancer.
Brigman is one of several girls in the Girl 2 Girl Talk (G2GT) group that put together care baskets for those in Morrison County who are undergoing chemotherapy. The baskets are a way to say they care.
“It made me feel good to do that, knowing what my grandma went through,” she said.
Altogether 36 baskets were filled with various items, such as water, hand sanitizers, pens, Chapstick, socks, a blanket and a book.
Several members of Morrison County Relay for Life picked up the baskets at the LFCMS, Tuesday.
“They will be handing them out to the people who are going through chemo,” Brigman said.
Brigman is not alone in thinking about the battle her grandma went through.
G2GT Leader Katie Otremba, a student at Little Falls Community High School (LFCHS), has an aunt who is now in remission after being diagnosed with ovarian cancer last year. Her grandpa also died from cancer when she was 4.
“Doing this project made me think more about what they go through. I feel the baskets will help them a lot. Not just the items in themselves, but knowing there are people in the community who care about them and stand with them in their fight against cancer,” she said.
But the annual G2GT project is only the beginning for Otremba. She hopes to own a business one day and through it, put together baskets year-round, not just once a year, she said.
The group started fundraising for the bags in February. G2GT Adviser Kelly Mertens anticipates that with the steady growth of members, the number of bags will increase next year. This was the group’s third year of providing care bags, Mertens said.
G2GT is a group that’s open to any middle school girl (6-8 grade), whether she attends a parochial or public school in Little Falls. The program offers a safe place for girls to talk with other girls. Whatever is said or done in the group, stays in the group.
Mertens is also a third grade teacher at Dr. S.G. Knight Elementary School in Randall. As a mandatory reporter, she will report anything that warrants it, she said.
Several high school students volunteer as leaders. They become not only a mentor, but also someone the girls already know when they transition into high school.
“The high school students mentor the girls and help them with things they’re dealing with. Middle school is already a hard time, so they need the extra encouragement,” Mertens said.
The group meets once a week. The open door policy allows students to participate in other activities, as well. They are always welcome back.
“We encourage them to be a part of something. There are girls who are not in sports or anything else and feel like they aren’t a part of anything. Being in this group gives them a sense of belonging,” Mertens said.
When the group meets, a broad range of topics are discussed, from bullying, what to do when they feel like nobody is talking to them, what a true friend is and that it isn’t necessary to have the nicest clothes.
“They’re in a transitional period and they look up to our leaders,” Mertens said.
Those interested in more information or who want to join, may contact Mertens at (320) 616-5206 or email@example.com.