Ribbons of Hope: Sisters create comfort boxes for people battling diseases

Nonprofit organization helps people battling Alzheimer's, cancer, autism

ST. CLAIR SHORES, Mich. – "Oh, she'd be ecstatic."

Jennie Spring was referring to her late mother -- a touchy subject after she and her sister lost their mom years ago to Alzheimer’s disease.

"Because the disease, all those diseases are very life-changing for people," Spring said.

Spring was referring to Alzheimer’s, cancer and autism. They are the reason she and her sister created the nonprofit organization Ribbons of Hope.

"We are an organization that designs and provides comfort items to individuals dealing with cancer, Alzheimer’s and autism," she said.

The organization began when Spring's sister, Mary Jane Gaspar, was diagnosed with breast cancer not once, but twice. She beat cancer both times.

Together, the sisters make comfort boxes for others that include items such as two drain pouches, a seatbelt pillow, candles, a journal and a letter telling other cancer patients they are not alone.

"I know how important the things that we put in our boxes worked for me and, you know, if I can make someone's journey a little easier, I want to continue to help them do that," Gaspar said.

The boxes of hope don't just provide comfort for those who receive them. Spring and her sister receive comfort in giving them, as well.

"It touches our hearts,” Spring said. “It makes us happy, and you know it's giving back because life has been good to us."

It's something they know their mom would have wanted them to do.

"She'd be very proud of us,” Gaspar said. “My mom and dad were always proud of us."

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