Sunshine Box
Service Times: 9am and 10:30am
6399 North Wells Road, Bigtownville, CO 32748

Sunshine Box

Our Founder’s story (Sharon Grammer)

I remember so well my first day of Chemo – December 19, 2008. I was scared. I was nervous. I had no clue what to expect. My Mom was with me, but I’d never felt so alone in my life. It was my vein that they were going to be sticking that needle into, and my body that was going to be infused with medications whose names I couldn’t even pronounce. I was grateful to have the treatment option, and obviously chose to do it, but that didn’t remove the fear.

Throughout my treatment I prayed and thought a lot about how God could use this situation to bless others. Fighting Cancer, Inc. and specifically The Sunshine Box Project are His answers. Mary Maust, my very good friend and my daughter’s grandmother, sent me a Sunshine Box after my surgery. I opened the box, and inside of it were about a dozen wrapped gifts from her and from other family members and friends in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia – my former “stomping grounds.” The instructions were that I was to open one gift a day. Much to my surprise, I got a second Sunshine Box from former coworkers at Stock and Leader in York, Pennsylvania. How blessed am I to have such awesome family and friends!!! The instructions in their box were that I was to open one gift each time I needed a little bit of sunshine in my life. I can’t tell you how much these gifts meant to me! The love I felt was – and is – indescribable.

While I was praying about what I could do to pass it forward, the Sunshine Box Project was what meant the most to me and so that was the project I wanted to start. In August of 2009 we delivered our first Sunshine Box to a new chemo patient at Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center’s Outpatient Oncology Infusion Lab in Charlotte, North Carolina. As we told others about the project, the enthusiasm started growing! Over the years we’ve developed a network of volunteers who donate and make items for the boxes, wrap the gifts, shop, and deliver them for us. Each item in the box serves a purpose and a lot of it was learned first-hand - things like a soft-bristle toothbrush because gums often become very tender during chemo, or a bath pouf because they dry faster and don’t hold bacteria like a washcloth can. Our goal is to have the patient know we are thinking about them and care. We love it when we have hand-made gifts to include (chemo hats, shawl, afghan, card, etc). In each box or bag we include 15 gifts from the list below:

  • Afghan/Quilt/fleece throw – the infusion lab is chilly! More so when you’re nervous, I think. How cool would it be if we could give them a lovingly handmade quilt or afghan to wrap them in warmth and love? A 50-inch by 60-inch or 70-inch ‘throw’ size is ideal. If you’d like to donate a non-handmade new blanket, fleece, or “throw,” that’s great, too!
  • Chemo caps - bald heads get cold! Knit, crochet, and fleece hats really help.
  • Flannel Pillowcases – much softer on bald heads than cotton or even silk. We can use purchased flannel pillowcases, or flannel yardage. We have volunteers who sew pillowcases for us.
  • Journals
  • Crossword and other puzzle books
  • Teacup / Mug / water bottles
  • Individually wrapped tea bags, coffee, hot chocolate
  • Individually wrapped mints, gum, hard candy
  • Nail polish, files, clippers
  • Socks – Fuzzy cute for women; sport or dress for men
  • Hand sanitizer – small, 4 oz or smaller
  • Knit/Crocheted/fleece hats
  • Memo pads/stationery
  • Tissues (small packs)
  • Cotton rounds for makeup removal
  • Q-tips (name brand on this one please. Generics are not as soft)
  • Bath scrubbie/pouf or white washcloth
  • Pill box – multi-day
  • Sudoku, crossword, word find puzzle books
  • Pens and pencils
  • 11” butane lighters
  • Men’s fleece gloves (or work gloves)
  • Carbiner clips
  • Soft-bristle toothbrushes / sensitive toothpaste
  • Stationery – thank you notes, blank cards, notebook, memo pad, Post-It Notes
  • Blank greeting cards (for us to write a note in, to go along with the gifts)
  • Wrapping paper, tape, gift bags, bows, tissue paper, etc. (It takes about 1.5 rolls of paper to wrap the gifts for each Sunshine Box)

Please do not wrap donations

Keep in mind that we do Sunshine Boxes for both men and women, so colors of afghans, fleeces, wrapping paper, etc. need to be a variety of styles and colors.

If you live within a half hour of Charlotte, we can arrange for pickup of donations, or they can be mailed to:
Fighting Cancer, Inc.
c/o Sharon Grammer
8940 Powell Road
Charlotte, NC 28215

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Or you can reach us at our mailing address:

Fighting Cancer, Inc.
Attention: Sharon Grammer
8940 Powell Road
Charlotte, North Carolina 28215