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Card project raises spirits, funds for Children’s Hospital

Dec. 4, 2014, 9:11 AM

Jessica Meyer shows off the holiday card she created as part of the Holiday Project fundraiser for Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. (photo by Joe Howell)

The first word that Jessica Meyer thought of was “hope.”

She and her friend, Alexandra, had just sat down with some paper and a box of crayons to spend an hour or so drawing holiday cards in between appointments at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.

It was a simple message that Jessica wanted to convey with a holiday greeting as she drew the letters of the word forming candy canes, a snowman and a tree with presents.

“When I think of hope, it’s being strong. It’s being brave,” she said. “You have to have that hope inside of you that you can do it, and you can win.”

Jessica, 12, was at the hospital earlier this fall as part of her ongoing treatment for a cancerous brain tumor. Her friend had tagged along that day to keep Meyer and her mom company.
The girls’ cards are being featured this year in the Holiday Project, an annual fundraiser for the hospital, now in its 31st year.

Each year, Friends of Children’s Hospital collects holiday-themed artwork from current and former patients, their friends and relatives. The artwork is turned into greeting cards, gift tags and other products sold to benefit the hospital.

This year, artwork from more than 20 children is being featured in the holiday products, which are being sold online and at 10 stores in the region.

Lori Meyer, Jessica’s mother, said the activity was a fun way for the girls to take a break and reflect on what matters.

“You practically have to live at the hospital during your treatment,” she said. “That’s just your life. It gave them something to look forward to it. It brightened their day.”

The card drawn by Jessica’s friend, Alexandra, is featured this year as a gift tag. It has a simple message as well: “Faith.”

Hope and faith are what have helped Jessica through the tough treatments of chemotherapy to halt the growth of the inoperable tumor, she said.

“Whenever there’s hard times, you always have to have faith,” Jessica said. “You have to be strong, and you always have to have fun. Take a recess sometimes. And stay true to your inner kid.”

For more information about the fundraiser and to read about other artists, go here.

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