With the help of her classmates and peers, third-grader Paige Sawyer began the Snack Packs for Chemo project
The first thing you notice about Wedgwood Elementary School third-grader Paige Sawyer is her smile, and as District Security Officer John McKie, who came to know Sawyer through his visits to the school, soon learned, that smile would change his world.
When Sawyer recently noticed the usually jovial McKie seemed subdued and saddened, she approached him and asked him why the smile had left his face. McKie shared that his wife Debbie, a secretary in Superintendent Joe Bollendorf’s office, recently was diagnosed with breast cancer and that news temporarily had saddened him and a lot of others who cared about Debbie. Sawyer sprang into action.
With the aid of her classmates in Kimbery Amendt’s, Sheri Panichelli’s and Annette Ranno’s class, Sawyer set in motion her Snack Packs for Chemo project. The students wrote personal, uplifting notes and decorated 127 bags that were filled with snacks — and smiles. On Feb. 5, McKie was among several special people who were selected as recipients, and Paige personally delivered a gift basket to a surprised and grateful Debbie. Sawyer’s goal is to produce 500 bags for 500 smiles.
“Paige Sawyer is showing others that your smile can change the world,” McKie, a retired corrections officer, said. “I am so thankful to Paige, her teachers and classmates for their kindness. I have no words for how proud I am of all the kids for what they did for me, my wife and the other families who have benefited from their actions.”
“You are saving my husband a lot of trips to the store for snacks,” Debbie said. “This is very appreciated. I am truly touched.”