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:

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