by Haniyyah Sardar, junior, Council Rock High School South
Farah Contractor, a junior at Council Rock High School South, has taken her own experiences as a childhood cancer patient and turned them into a philanthropic effort. When Farah was 12-years-old she was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s B-cell Lymphoma, and at 14-years-old she was diagnosed with secondary Acute Myeloid Leukemia and spent the majority of 2010-2012 at the Cancer Center in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). While there, Farah recalls receiving blankets during her treatment and says that she loved getting them. Now, after she has completed her treatment, Farah has decided to bring other inpatients at CHOP the same joy she felt when receiving blankets.
This year, Farah started the Childhood Cancer Awareness Group at CR South, which aims to create fleece-tie blankets for in-patient children at the Cancer Center while spreading awareness for childhood cancer. According to Farah, the group is “all about making children at CHOP feel remembered and encouraged while they are dealing with the hardships of cancer treatment.” When reflecting on her own time at the Cancer Center and what these blankets meant to her she says, “It can get lonely inside of a hospital and I want [the children] to know that we are thinking about them.” She says that CHOP means a lot to her because of the “amazing staff and charities that helped relieve the stress” of her journey through cancer. Her determination to giving back in such a personal way has inspired many other students to join in on the efforts.
Although Farah is the leader of the Childhood Cancer Awareness Group and has been dedicated to giving other children the same experience she had when receiving blankets at CHOP, she insists that creating the blankets is really a group effort. She says she could have never done any of this without the help of Mrs. Karen Holloran, the group advisor, and her friends who helped spread the word about the group. Member Danielle Randall says that the Childhood Cancer Awareness Group has been “a great way to take a personal experience and turn it into something charitable.” She also thinks that the group is a great way for teenagers to give back to the community by helping out kids who are battling cancer.
The group first started fundraising for the blankets through a donation website where they raised over $900, surpassing the group’s original goal for the blankets.
The blankets were started in January, and Farah hopes that the group will complete them by April. They plan on making 40 to 50 blankets to donate to the children at CHOP.
Farah is determined to bring a little more light into the difficult lives of other childhood cancer patients and encourage them to keep fighting just like she did. Her efforts will not be forgotten by the children who receive these blankets or by the students at South who help create them.
PHOTO CAP: Farah Contractor