By Rich Palzewic
DE PERE – West De Pere Middle School student Grace Fuss, a 14-year-old eighth-grader, recently delivered 80 care packages for cancer patients at Bellin Health.
In 2019, Fuss started the nonprofit organization Fighting Cancer with Grace, after her mother and West De Pere school board president, Jenni Fuss, fought her own battle with breast cancer six years ago.
Along with several volunteers, Grace and her family helped organize the care packages Dec. 22 at the middle school.
“We put a blanket in there to help keep patients warm because when my mom went through her treatment, she got cold,” said Grace. “We also added a soup mix, notebook, rice pouch, water bottle, lotion, chapstick, hand sanitizer, tissues, gift cards, cards, ornaments, a book, a puzzle and a chocolate bar.”
Grace said some of the items were donated, but most of them were bought with the money she raised.
“In 2018, I received a Cricut Maker for Christmas,” she said. “It’s a machine used for cutting vinyl. After doing a few practices, my mom and I thought it would be cool to make and sell items to pay people back for helping us out. In the beginning, my parents donated most of the supplies, but now, we use a small portion of the profits to help pay for the cost. The rest of the profits go toward the care packages. We hope to keep doing it as long as we can and growing the organization.”
Fuss was 7 years old when her mom was diagnosed with cancer.
“I remember all the people who helped and supported us through the process,” Grace said. “The support helped my mom have a better experience while she was going through her treatments.”
Jenni was six years cancer free Dec. 30.
“Everything is going great,” Jenni said. “Every day is a blessing, and I’m doing well and have lots of energy.”
Jenni, who along with her husband, Nick, said she’s proud of her daughter for making a difference.
“We’re proud of Grace’s ability to make an impact in cancer patients’ lives,” she said. “It’s a unique opportunity for her to do the things she loves and make a difference in peoples’ lives. There were days during my treatment that were difficult, but some of the small things made a big difference.”