By Ukee Washington
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — When faced with terminal illness, Lucy Belle Perkins embraced art. In her honor, thousands of students in our area are collecting supplies to help sick children.
Eighth graders at Bala Cynwyd Middle School are packing with a purpose.
Led by art teacher Beverly Rusoff, the students stuff bags full of crayons, sketchbooks, markers, and paint for children undergoing cancer treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
“Heads up, this is gonna be like a production line. We have to get 200 bags packed for CHOP,” Beverly ordered.
It’s in honor of Lucy, a classmate who died from brain cancer last September.
“She was really talented artistically,” Vashni Nilon, Lucy’s mom, said. “Art was so important to her, and it helped her so much in treatment.”
When there were no treatment options left, Lucy Belle’s wish was to go back to school to do what she loved most, and that’s exactly what she did.
“She worked on this sketchbook, and she drew herself an angel with a rainbow behind her,” said Beverly.
From that drawing came Lucy Belle’s Rainbow and the bags of supplies, all of the bags bringing with them the healing power of art to sick children.
The bags come with a homemade card.
“When we started making the cards, we didn’t want to say ‘get well’ or ‘feel better.’ We didn’t want to draw attention to their illness,” Beverly said. “We wanted to give them something bright to think about, so we just came up with ‘Make Art and Smile.’”
The kids, along with Lucy’s brother Tate, packed hundreds of bags.
“It’s just fun to pack stuff and do stuff for her that she would like to do,” Tate said.
For everyone involved, it’s about remembering Lucy and helping those who need it most.
“It means a lot because, like, these kids don’t have a lot of time because they’re trying to get better,” said C.J. Bowser, an eighth grader.
“’It feels like really, really good helping out the kids,” student Asher Goodwin said.
The organization has already raised more than $80,000 for cancer research. To find out how you can help, go to http://www.lucybellesrainbow.org