HAZLETON -- A lot of us may know how strong sibling bonds can be, but one girl in Luzerne County shows us how inspirational that relationship can be as well.
A 13-year-old girl from Hazleton is using her sister's struggle with a rare disease to help others.
A stuffed animal costs only a few dollars, but for 13-year-old Nicole Mahon of Hazleton, the teddies she's collecting have the potential to be powerful.
"I am trying to make the cancer patients happier because us kids need to realize how lucky we are and the things that we have that they don't," Nicole said.
Earlier this week, Nicole decided to start a teddy bear drive for kids with cancer.
"Who doesn't like a teddy bear, you know? And not many people have chemo buddies during chemo."
She knows that firsthand. Her big sister Shay has a rare cancer-like disease.
"She has Wegener's granuloma mitosis."
It's required her to watch her big sis go through rounds of chemotherapy.
"She is very strong also, big heart. But it did break Coley's heart to see her sister go through that," said Nicole's mom Jennifer Mahon.
As tough as it was, Nicole was by her big sis's side until she got better.
Her big sister's battle has inspired her to now make sure every kid dealing with cancer in the area has a "chemo buddy" by their side.
Jennifer Mahon is the proud mom of all four of her kids. But as she helps her two middle daughters organize this chemo buddy drive, she gets emotional thinking about the immense strength one daughter shows every day and the kindness that has inspired in the other.
"She wants to change the world, and her biggest inspiration is her sister."
Flyers are being passed around at all Hazleton Area school districts.
Drop-off sites for stuffed animals:
- Hazleton Fire Department (Southside station) at 525 East Broad Street, Hazleton
- The Cheese Store & More at 1111 West15th Street, Hazleton
- Payer Oil at 11 North Putnam Street, McAdoo,
You can also call Jennifer Mahon at 570-436-6378 if you are unable to drop off a donation, and need it picked up.
Monetary donations can be made to Country for a Cure to help kids with cancer in the greater Hazleton area.
Checks can be made out to Country for a Cure and mailed to:
c/o Chemo Buddies,
609 Landmesser Street,
West Hazleton, PA 18202.