Once again, social media has connected me to another amazing organization to highlight in our ongoing #ServiceSpotlight series. Meet Olivia Zhang, President and Founder of Cancer Kids First, an Virginia-based organization working to support pediatric cancer patients. Check it out!
Liz: Let’s start in true Smile Project fashion. Give me a "Happiness is.”
Olivia: Happiness is the feeling you get after channeling a passion of yours into something that will help change the world.
Liz: Tell me about Cancer Kids First.
Olivia: Cancer Kids First (CKF) is an organization that works towards raising more awareness about pediatric cancer and provides patients with the chance at a normal childhood. CKF supplies pediatric patients with toy and book donations, cards, coloring pages, care packages, and more. We strive to normalize the hospital environment, inspire patients to keep fighting, and spark some joy within their lives through our many programs. Currently, we have aided close to 20 pediatric cancer hospitals, donated over 650 toys and books, and mailed over 300 cards—and we're only getting started!
Liz: What is the driving force behind what you do?
Olivia: Each day, 43 children are diagnosed with cancer in the US. Each year, 15,590 children are diagnosed, making cancer the leading cause of death in disease within American children. Despite these facts, only 4% of government funding for medical research is allocated to pediatric oncology.
Kids with cancer spend much of their lives battling a horrific disease, exuding bravery no adult could match. Our children deserve more. All warrior angels deserved more. Though we cannot take away the pain and suffering cancer has brought into so many lives, we can help ease the pain—and that’s exactly what Cancer Kids First aims to do.
Liz: How can people get involved?
Olivia: Check out the "Get Involved" section of our website! From volunteering to starting a chapter, you can join us in putting kids with cancer first. Make sure to also check out and follow our socials: @cancerkidsfirst on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook! Sharing our mission and story with others will help expand our organization.
Liz: Anything else you'd like to add?
Olivia: Our world is full of people who need help—problems that need to be solved. If you can better someone’s life, why not do it? Volunteer for Cancer Kids First and choose to make a mark on the world. Choose to change the world for the better.
Liz: Do you have a favorite quote you’d like to leave us with?
"Be the change you wish to see in the world."