Stevie Wonder once said, "We all have ability. The difference is how we use it."
Though only an eighth grader at the St. Marys Area Middle School, Kersey resident Nicole Holland is currently using her abilities to make a big difference in the lives of patients at the Hahne Regional Cancer Center, a division of DuBois Regional Medical Center located in DuBois.
Holland, through her role as reigning Elk County Fair junior queen, recently undertook efforts to raise money to assemble "Hahne hope bags" for cancer patients.
"[The "Hahne hope bags" contain] tissues, decks of cards, a notebook and pen, gum, and some candies to suck on because they like the candy," Holland said.
She noted that she first came up with the idea for the bags several years ago after a family friend was diagnosed with breast cancer and began treatment at Hahne.
"She said that she just needed something to do while she was down there, so we created the 'Hahne hope bags.' I did a few and sent them down [at that time,] Holland said.
After being crowned junior fair queen this past August, Holland decided to once again make the bags a special project.
"My goal was to [raise enough funds to make 100 bags,] Holland said. "I collected change here at the middle school and at the Fox Township Community Park, and then Elk County Fair princess Makenzie Gillen talked to her school board and got money from them."
Gillen, also of Kersey, currently attends Fox Township Elementary School.
After starting the project in September, Holland noted that she recently finished up and hopes to deliver the bags next Wednesday.
Along with Gillen and other members of the Elk County Fair Court, Holland noted that she also received help with the project from staff at the middle school and Fox Township Community Park. She added that her classmates were also supportive in helping her raise the necessary funds for the project.
"Our total collection was $379.31," Holland said.
While she was able to successfully complete this project, Holland indicated that she hopes to create more "Hahne hope bags" in the future.
Nicole is the daughter of Shirley Gradizzi and Kevin Holland.