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Published on June 25, 2018

These kids rocked cancer patients’ worldThese kids rocked cancer patients’ world

While radiation treatments for cancer may only take a few minutes, it can make for a long day when you’re not feeling well. Those days will now be brighter with a clear message of thoughtfulness, kindness and motivation from fifth grade students at the Barnstable United Elementary School.

Recently, Colt Hill, Nicholas Ramos, Lillie Burke and Lexy Hunter traveled with their teacher, Jeanie Bogosian, to the Clark Cancer Center at Falmouth Hospital to deliver their gifts of rocks painted with hand-written messages of hope, caring and inspiration. They are on display in the waiting room for all to see as soon as they enter.

Messages on the rocks include:

  • Live, Love, Laugh
  • You are amazing!
  • Kindness is wisdom
  • Don’t just exist, live
  • Be strong
  • Dream on
  • Keep your head up
  • Soar
  • Love
  • Be….bold
  • Hang in there
  • Love is all around

Some of the various-shaped rocks are also decorated with hearts, flowers, stars and rainbows.

“The rocks are making patients smile,” said Sheila Broderick RTT, Clark Cancer Center’s manager and chief radiation therapist. “They [the patients] have already taken a few and I’m getting comments like bright, creative, and cheerful, to describe the rocks. They can’t decide which one to take because they are all so nice.”

The students who painted and delivered the rocks are in the Gateway program (Gifted and Talented Education with All Youth) at their elementary school.

“It’s for students who need to be enriched and extended beyond the regular classroom,” said Bogosian, who teaches English and problem solving in their classroom.

The group is required to do a community project as part of their Future Problem Solving International curriculum according to Bogosian. They did their research and identified heightened cancer risks as a concern in Barnstable County.

“It hit home for one of the students in our group because she has a friend whose mother is going through cancer treatment,” said Bogosian.

The students had to think of ways they could reach out to cancer patients on the Cape and decided to make “motivational rocks” with inspirational messages to brighten patients’ days. Their idea originated with The Kindness Rocks Project, which they follow on social media and can view from their classroom window every day in The Kindness Rocks Project garden.

“We put a motivational spin on it for people who may be feeling a little less motivated on a day,” said Bogosian.

They set out to fulfill their project by collecting rocks from the woods, beaches and other areas and then moved on to painting them with inspirational messages they found online, Pinterest and used various quotes they already knew.

The project culminated with the delivery to the Clark Cancer Center.

“I don’t want the motivational rock garden to go away,” said Broderick.