"Gracing The Children With Presents"
My name is Rebecca Weiss, I'm 19 years old, born and raised in South Florida.
My story started on February 20th, 2015 I was admitted into the hospital with a very serious, life threatening illness.
It's been a long battle, but one that I have overcome.
Now, almost 3 years later, I'm home, happier, healthier, and stronger than ever before. After a year of catch up, not only did I graduate high school, pulling an almost 4.0 average, but I just finished my first semester in college, following my passion of helping animals and majoring in Veterinary sciences.
I was so blessed to have been released right before the holidays that I decided to dedicate my time going forward to giving back.
During my journey, I met so many children and families in need. Families who, because of the high cost of hospital and medical care that insurance didn't cover, were forced into very difficult financial situations.
I decided to spread my happiness out into the world by collecting money to give hospitalized children in need a chance to be happy too. With the money I raised, I was able to buy presents and personally hand them out to children in hospitals who were not able to be home for the holidays. We had the help of a very special man, Jim Nolan of Delray Beach who as he's done so many times before, played the role of Santa for these amazing kids!
For my charity's 3rd year, I will be working with our regional hospitals such as "Palm Beach Children's Hospital" to create a special day again, where we bring in Santa to meet with and give the gifts to the children.
This year we are celebrating “Gracie”, a bright eyed, energetic “Almost 3 year old”. Gracie has Neurofibromatosis Type 1 a neurological disorder characterized by multiple light brown skin spots and neurofibromas (small tumors on the skin). Occasionally tumors may develop in the brain, on cranial nerves, and on the spinal cord or other areas of the body. In Gracie's case, she has developed 2 malignant Optic Nerve Gliomas (a type of brain tumor). Optic Nerve Gliomas are a rare kind of cancer that’s typically slow growing.
Gracie began receiving Chemotherapy on 10/27/17 in the hope of shrinking/stabilizing the tumors and more importantly saving her eye sight because she has a significant loss of sight in her left eye. Gracie will have Chemo for the next year and undergo MRI's and vision tests every 3 months.
Our drive this year honors Gracie, her family and all the other children fighting life threatening illnesses who are hospitalized this holiday season.
I am so blessed to be alive and healthy and with family this year, help me help those ill children who need a little special love and attention this year!
With much love and gratitude,
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