Act Of Kindness Inspires Cancer Survivor
She was inspired by an anonymous gift. Now she's running a non-profit that helps others like her.
After battling cancer three times, Sonia Su has learned a thing or two about the disease – and how to best support those who are fighting it.
Su was diagnosed with an aggressive form of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2018. Over the past two years, she has relapsed twice and has been in and of the hospital for treatments.
When she returned to the hospital in March 2019 to have her last round of immunotherapy, she noticed a package left for her on the hospital bed. It was a gift from a former patient who wanted to cheer up a fellow survivor.
Following that experience, Su faced many challenges as she fought the lymphoma that was attacking her body – she even spent her 26th birthday in the ICU. Through all of it, she never forgot the care package.
Su was enrolled in a Master's program at Georgetown University. When she was tasked to present a pitch for the school's entrepreneurship challenge, she decided to use the opportunity to repay the kindness that was shown to her in the hospital. She came up with the idea for "Kits to Heart."
video c/o Kits to Heart
Kits to Heart is a non-profit that delivers personalized care packages to cancer patients at hospitals and cancer centers. Using her own experience along with those of other patients, Su came up with a list of items for the kits, including hand sanitizer, ginger chews and a piece of origami art.
Out of the 80 students who participated in the challenge, Su's idea landed her a second place title.
Su depends on a team of volunteers and her family to help with assembling and delivering the packages. Kits to Heart/Facebook
Kalpesh Patel, an entrepreneur and angel investor who served as a judge for the contest and saw Su present her idea, explains why she did so well:
"I was drawn to her sheer passion for this effort," Patel told The Baltimore Sun. "She has gone through a pretty rough time. Despite that, when she was pitching, it was cheerful and very positive. [She wanted] to make a difference in people's lives."
The care kits have practical items and special treats like ginger chews and handmade crafts. Kits to Heart/Facebook
Now that Su has earned her degree, she has brought Kits to Heart to life and has hand-delivered hundreds of care packages to local hospitals and shipped dozens of others to patients across the country.
Su and her team have delivered hundreds of kits to patients at hospitals and care centers in the Baltimore/Washington Metro Area. Kits to Heart/Facebook
"Sonia is a great example of someone who didn't set out to be an entrepreneur. She just set out to solve a problem," Jeff Reid, a professor at Georgetown, said. "The next thing you know, she's created an organization that's mobilized. She's created and grown an organization that created a huge impact. That's what entrepreneurs do."
We love this idea! Kudos to Su for turning the kindness she received into an act of giving for others.