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Child artist creates Christmas cards to raise funds for families facing cancer

Kaitlyn Grainger, 17, was pronounced cancer-free on January 2. She's created one of five cards that will benefit the Children's Cancer Center.

TAMPA, Fla. — Kaitlyn Grainger is both modest and talented.

“I’m okay, not like Picasso or anything but I’m okay,” she said.

“She is an excellent artist,” said Patty O’Leary, the executive director of the Children’s Cancer Center. “The angel she submitted was just phenomenal. I know everyone is going to love it. She’s certainly better than she perceives herself.”

O’Leary selected Grainger and four other students to design Christmas cards for the Children’s Cancer Center’s annual fundraiser. The Christmas card bundles feature original designs by children who have battled cancer and other illnesses. The cards can be customized and are available online or at nearly 150 Publix locations.

Grainger, 17, was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in February 2019 after multiple trips to the pediatrician following nose bleeds.  

“It was shocking. When I was younger my best friend’s little brother passed away from cancer so I knew what it did to people. So, I feel like I had that impact on me at the time,” she said. “January 2 of this year, actually, I was declared cancer-free.”

Grainger was also commissioned to do a business card for McDonald’s. Now, she’s busy preparing for college. The high school senior hopes to use her experience to help others.

“I’m in the middle of all my college applications right now. I want to go into pediatric oncology,” she said.

The Children’s Cancer Center raises between $30,000 and $50,000 each yeare through the Christmas card fundraiser. It has partnered with Publix locations for nearly 40 years. The net proceeds benefit families of children facing cancer, like Grainger’s.

“There are over 1,000 families that we are currently supporting,” O’Leary said. “The more awareness we can raise for the mission and the cards, the more families that we are helping.”

Cards are available at all Pasco, Pinellas, Sarasota, Manatee and Hillsborough County Publix locations. Cards can also be purchased online at store.cccholidaycards.com.

They are beautiful so I hope everybody goes out this year because you are giving out only to the person you’re sending it to but you really are giving to the kids and families of our local children’s Cancer Center," O'Leary said.

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