CANA — It’s something Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra would have smiled about. A Christmas Pageant organized by a local “princess” earned $300 for “Elke’s Angels,” a group which comforts cancer patients with “cheer bags.”
“We had made 53 cheer bags and our closet was literally empty,” said Oma Boyd. “These two came in and filled the floor (on Dec. 5) with items.”
Boyd is the mother of Carroll County High School graduate and Mount Airy City Schools Nutrition Director, the late Elke Boyd. Elke’s Angel’s Inc. is a non-profit formed last year in memory of her daughter. Its mission is to comfort those who are battling cancer, keeping Boyd’s memory and work alive.
According to Boyd, Junior Miss Eastern America Hannah Cooper spearheaded a recent benefit “Snow Princess Christmas Pageant” at the Southwestern Virginia Training Center, raising the money with 3,000 items destined to give some small comfort to cancer patients.
Cooper heard about the group through her mother, Emily Padgett, a classmate of Elke. Oma Boyd explained the group has remained steadfast to her daughter’s comforting mission. She said Elke saw a need among fellow cancer patients and vowed to make cheer bags for the rest of her life. Friends and family picked up the torch after her death.
In 2012, Elke Boyd was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer. Once diagnosed, she proceeded to have radiation and breast surgery at Duke, followed by chemo. In April of 2014 the cancer returned without symptoms and spread aggressively throughout her body. On Dec. 16, 2014, Boyd died. While undergoing chemo, Boyd made gift bags and took them on her treatment days to other chemo patients.
“Our region has grown (since the group began last January) out of Mount Airy,” said Boyd, who explained the group often works through Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem. “It (the donation) was out of nowhere but the closet is completely full. It’s been such a blessing.”
Boyd said one recent project for Elke’s Angels involves Brenner’s Children’s Hospital and angel dolls. She said nine angel dolls and 16 cheer bags are scheduled to be delivered on Dec. 21 to the facility. The angel dolls are made of non-toxic materials and primarily go to young children. They feature a velour cape which enfolds into angel wings.
She said the organization was truly surprised by the response to the cheer bags and angel dolls and currently have more sponsors than orders to fill. Sadly, they know that in all probability this is a short-term situation and more need will arise.
“We’ve received support from communities, churches and businesses to really sustain Elke’s Angels organization,” said Boyd. “The organization was truly surprised by the response to the angel dolls and we have quite a few on backorder.”
The group is now looking to assemble more donations in time for Valentine’s Day. Elke’s Angel’s accepts both monetary donations and items to be placed in gift bags. For a full list of items requested, visit www.ElkesAngels.com or email [email protected]
David Broyles may be reached at 276-779-4013 or on [email protected]