NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — She can’t quite explain it, but something has always drawn 16-year-old Samantha Ronci to help others, specifically, during their battle with cancer.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and, according to St. Jude Hospital, about 40 children are diagnosed with cancer every day.
“I think it was just placed in my heart, so that’s why I do everything,” Ronci said.
When she was only 8 years old, she decided to raise money for a girl who was a part of Children’s Wishes, an organization in Warwick.
“I said to my mom, ‘I want to help kids with cancer,'” she said.
She ended up raising $200 for a young local girl who was battling cancer.
As Ronci got older, the reality and dark impacts of child cancer only became clearer to her, so she had the idea of sending a care package to a stranger to help them get through the scary times.
Her first package was sent on April 15 of this year, to a girl named Emily in Gainesville, Virginia.
“She passed away a few weeks after I sent her her package, she has a special place in my heart forever,” Ronci said.
Emily was only 6 years old and was battling cancer for most of her life. While the two never got a chance to meet, Ronci said the impact of her kind gesture has stayed with her all this time.
“Everything that I do is for all these kids,” she said. “It is in memory of them and they all impact me.”
That’s why she decided to honor Emily’s legacy and continue sending care packages to kids fighting cancer all over the country.
“My goal is to send care packages to every state in the country,” Ronci said. “Actually a little girl from the Philippines just reached out to me, so i’m thinking of extending it to more of a world wide thing.”
So far, she’s sent about a dozen packages, to children in five states. She said the children she’s connected with have been as young as 19 months and as old as 14 years.
“If I can touch one child’s life and make one kid smile in the midst of the hardest time of their life, I think that’s all I want,” she said.
Ronci said she plans to stay in touch with Emily’s family forever.
“Everything I do is for her and her family,” she said.
Ronci plans on legally registering as a non-profit, but for now, she is fundraising by selling shirts and taking donations.
If you know someone who Ronci may want to connect with, can contact her via Instagram.