Cancer is something that junior Hannah Klaassen knows a lot about. Hannah is using her Gold Award Girl Scouts project, the project Girl Scout members complete before they receive the award for leadership and community projects, to connect families affected by cancer. She’s teamed up with Bay Area Cancer Connection (BACC), a nonprofit organization based in Palo Alto that helps people who have breast or ovarian cancer, to plan events where affected kids and adults can meet other people with cancer.
“I want them to have fun in a non-stressful environment to let them forget about all of their worries,” Hannah said.
The first event Hannah held was a movie night. She set up ice breaker games and snacks, and then everybody watched “The Incredibles.”
“The movie night was a huge success,” Hannah said. “At the end, families traded contact info and they were making connections which made me feel really good because that was the whole goal of these events.”
Hannah also hosted her second event, a cooking activity, on May 21. She teamed up with a local nutritionist to teach the families how to cook healthy meals and spend more time outside. She’s also planning a game afternoon for July 30 where there will be a pizza lunch, snacks and games for more families.
Hannah’s favorite part of planning these events is meeting the people.
“I love interacting with the families and the children,” Hannah said. “It makes me feel really good that I am able to help them through this journey.”
In fact, Hannah says the similarity of their journeys to hers is a big reason why she decided to use her Gold Award project to do something like this.
“When I was in fifth grade, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Hannah said. “I was young and I [didn’t] have a full understanding about what was happening and what was going on. None of my friends really understood what I was going through, and I [wished] I had a connection to another kid my age who was going through what I was going through. I wanted to create these events mainly so kids and families don’t feel like they are going through this journey alone.”
Hannah is also creating a kid’s play area in the waiting room of BACC’s main office for children to play in while their parents are talking to doctors or professionals. She’s held donation drives and collected toys and books to stock the area, as well as working with MVHS freshman Andrew Daetz to make a mini play kitchen from scratch.