Ooltewah family donates gifts to cancer patients at local hospitals
An Ooltewah family is brightening the lives of cancer patients in the hospital.
The tradition began several years ago in memory of the teen's grandmother who passed away from Ovarian Cancer.
In this week's Pay It Forward, NewsChannel 9's Jessica Harthorn surprised them during one of their gift deliveries.
Year round, the Nichols Family is thinking of patients who have to spend an extended period of time at the hospital.
They collect donations from family and friends and make contributions out of their own pocket too.
It all began in 2013, when the family made the first hospital delivery to their grandmother undergoing chemo treatments.
Five years ago, Taylor Nichols was only 10 years old, but she was determined her grandmother Barbara would have something to look forward to during chemotherapy.
"It was Taylor's Idea to start bringing stuff to cheer her up, and then mom started sharing it with everybody in the chemo room. So we brought a little bit more each time, a little bit more each time," said Kelly Nichols.
The tradition continued even after Barbara passed away in 2016.
Friend of the family, Beth Eubanks, says Taylor wanted to help others in memory of her grandmother so she happily donated to the cause.
" We have a saying within our gathering of 'love is why' and love is why she's doing this," said Beth.
As Taylor and her family climbed off the elevator at the Children's Hospital at Erlanger, Jessica Harthorn quickly passed off the cash so Beth could thank them for their generosity.
"On behalf of Newschannel 9 and the McMahan Law Firm, they would like to Pay It Forward to you for what you have done for so many people in the hospital, who may be at their worst time in their life, you're bringing a little joy to them. So love is why that we are here. So hold out your hand, 1, 2, 3, 4, $500," surprised Beth.
After the surprise, we followed Taylor inside the pediatric floor where she and Ashley Zani, the hospital Child Life Specialist, handed a toy to the cutest little girl.
"All the normal things kids have at home and at school, this helps them to normalize the environment and helps them cope," said Ashley.
"Can I ask you a question? Do you like Starbucks?" Taylor asked a patient.
"I love Starbucks!" she said.
"It's a good thing, because you have $10 there now," said Taylor as she gave her a gift card.
The Nichols family collects the party supplies, toys, food and gift cards and donates to several area hospitals four times a year.
They make a point not to forget the hospital staff too.
"Yeah! Donuts! I love Donuts," said the doctor.
Taylor may only be 15, but she has big goals for the future.
She wants the world to know her grandmother made a difference and taught her how a simple act of kindness can brighten the day of others.
Do you know someone who deserves $500 cash for helping others? Nominate them here!