By Lily Belcher
The highest award a Girl Scout Cadette can earn is the Silver Award, a commendation for a community project that has personal meaning. For Grace Allen and her family, breast cancer is the personal issue for which she created Pretty in Pink.
In 2017, Newsome junior Grace Allen created a project in which volunteers assemble gift bags of bandanas, bracelets and other gifts for patients living with breast cancer or recovering from treatment.
“[Mothers and daughters] get to do some fun games and crafts together while helping out an important cause: breast cancer. They are given a bag to decorate and while going to different stations to do some games, they are given items to put into the bags,” said Carrie Alexander, Allen’s mother.
Despite restrictions on visits to the Florida Cancer Specialists due to the coronavirus, Allen has continued her project by giving volunteers kits and supplies to make the bags and then delivering them to the center herself, under the supervision of Project Advisor Dr. Julia Cogburn from Florida Cancer Specialists.
Since Allen and the volunteers cannot visit the cancer patients in person, each bag contains a pre-addressed envelope for patients to write them a letter.
“We have received some truly amazing letters over the years—thanking us at a real time of need, donating to the event to ensure it keeps going and even letting us know of the recipients passing. It’s been an amazing experience,” said Alexander.
While the Pretty in Pink project fulfilled Allen’s requirement for her Silver Award, her mission holds a special place in her heart as her grandmother and aunt were diagnosed with breast cancer. Allen’s grandfather, who is receiving chemotherapy treatment, was beaming with pride when he could tell the other patients that his granddaughter was responsible for the bags.
To receive her Gold Award as a Senior Girl Scout, Allen is sewing 100 pillows for the seatbelts of chemotherapy patients so the seatbelts do not rub against the ports in their chest; the project is called Pretty Port Pillows. She is asking the community to match her donation by following her video for learning how to make the pillows.