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The one hundred honoree: Nicole Neville and Paige Shin

Donor Story

The one hundred honoree: Nicole Neville and Paige Shin

Mass General Giving

Young cancer patients experience many challenges, and often seek comfort in the places and things that are most familiar to them. Two young women on opposite ends of the country are using teddy bears, which brought them both comfort during their own cancer battles, to bring joy to other cancer patients.

Paige Shin (right) from Los Angeles, California, was diagnosed with Wilm’s Tumor at age two-and-a-half, and by her third birthday had undergone multiple rounds of chemotherapy and had a kidney removed. Now 17, Paige volunteers at the hospital where she was treated and has launched a non-profit called Hugs for Love, which provides personalized teddy bears to young patients undergoing treatment. She engages patients in the process by asking them to draw t-shirt designs for their bear, creating a fun and relaxing activity for children during stressful treatments and hospital stays. With support from companies like Red Mango, Inc., Paige has distributed more than 100 bears. As her program grows, Paige hopes to work with more hospitals and institutions across the U.S.

On the other side of the country in Boston, Mass., Nicole Neville spent a lot of time on the Lunder 9 oncology floor at Mass General from December 2011 to October 2012 while being treated for osteosarcoma. Whenever she came for treatment, she brought along a stuffed animal for comfort. Wanting to do something to help others following her successful treatment, she collected donations from friends, family and toy company Webkinz, to purchase more than 200 bears to make other young adult and adult patients smile when they are feeling sad or lonely. Her vision for the future of the TeddyBear Project is to have cancer survivors personally handing out the teddy bears to patients in the hospital, directly connecting patients with survivors.

Jessica Berry, RN, one of Nicole’s oncology nurses, says, “Lunder 9 has watched with great pride as Nicole makes her own contributions to cancer care, going above and beyond to give oncology patients comfort at such a challenging time. Already a leader at such a young age, I am confident Nicole will continue to inspire countless others.”